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Health Psychol. 2015 Aug;34(8):820-828. doi: 10.1037/hea0000226. Epub 2015 Apr 6.

Association between trajectories of maternal depression and subsequent psychological functioning in youth with and without chronic physical illness.

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McMaster University.
Western University.



The aim of this study was to determine if the presence of youth chronic illness moderates the association between trajectories of maternal depressive symptoms and psychological functioning in youths.


Data came from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (N = 11,813). Using the 12-item version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), symptom trajectories were estimated by latent class growth modeling over 3 measurement occasions (when their children were 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15 years). The moderating effect of youth chronic illness on the association between maternal depression and youth psychological functioning at 16-19 years was tested using multiple regression. Three measures of psychological functioning were assessed: anger regulation (Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory), self-concept (Self-Determination Questionnaire), and depressive symptoms (CES-D).


Four trajectories (low, decreasing, increasing, high) of maternal depression were identified. The association of maternal depressive symptoms on youth psychological functioning was modified by chronic illness; less favorable trajectories of maternal depression had a more pronounced detrimental association on youths with chronic illness compared to controls.


Youths with chronic illness are particularly vulnerable to the negative psychological exposure of maternal depressive symptoms during the transition to adulthood. Family-centered transition of care programs in the medical setting may be beneficial in reducing the association between symptoms of maternal depression and youth psychological functioning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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