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Child Dev. 1995 Jun;66(3):739-53.

Mother-child interaction quality as a partial mediator of the roles of maternal depressive symptomatology and socioeconomic status in the development of child behavior problems. Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group.

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Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.


This investigation examined the relation between maternal depressive symptomatology and the development of externalizing behavior problems in children by incorporating mother-child interaction quality into a series of models. A representative sample of 376 first-grade boys and girls (mean age = 6.52) from diverse backgrounds (234 from the lowest 2 socioeconomic classes) and their mothers completed an interaction task designed to measure the quality of mother-child interaction. Latent variable structural equations analyses revealed that mother-child interaction quality partially mediated the relation between maternal depressive symptomatology and child behavior problems even when the effects of socioeconomic status on both variables were taken into account. Although this model held for boys, girls, and Caucasians, the relation between maternal depression and interaction quality was not significant for African-Americans. Further investigation is required to understand the lack of generalizability of the model to African-American mother-child dyads.

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