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Nurs Res. 1991 Jul-Aug;40(4):214-20.

Psychosocial predictors of maternal depressive symptoms, parenting attitudes, and child behavior in single-parent families.

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Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington.


The purposes of the study were to identify psychosocial predictors of depressive symptoms among low-income, single mothers and to investigate the effects of maternal psychosocial factors, depressive symptoms, and parenting attitudes on children's behavior. In-home interviews were conducted with 225 mothers to obtain data on their everyday stressors, coping strategies, social resources, depressive symptoms, and parenting attitudes, as well as reports of their children's behavior. High depressive symptoms occurred among 59.6% of the women. Higher depressive symptoms were associated with greater everyday stressors, fewer social resources, and greater use of avoidance coping. Neither social resources nor coping strategies buffered the relationship between everyday stressors and depressive symptoms. Maternal depressive symptoms predicted parenting attitudes. Parenting attitudes, in turn, predicted child behavior. These findings suggest that depressive symptoms are indirectly associated with mothers' reports of child behavior through their influence on parenting attitudes.

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