Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have higher rates of depressive symptoms, and parental depressive symptoms are strongly associated with problem behaviors in children. However, the direction of effect between parental depression and child behavior problems is unclear. Additionally, the mechanisms through which parental depression contributes to child behavior problems and vice versa are not well understood. The purpose of the present study is to examine the relationship between parental depression and child behavior problems among families of children with ASD; more specifically to investigate as mediating variables that may explain the mechanisms through which parental depression and child behavior problems are associated as well the temporal relationship between these two variables. The sample consisted of 33 parents of children with ASD (ages 2 to 5 years old). Findings suggested that authoritative parenting style significantly mediated the relationship between parental depression and behavior problems. However, cross-lagged panel analyses did not support a transactional relationship between parental depression and child behavior problems. This study highlights the importance of considering parental mental health and its impact on parenting behavior in interventions targeting child behavior problems.
School of Behavioral Health
Neece, Cameron L.
Freeman, Kimberly R.
Morrell, Holly E. R.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Child Behavior Disorders; Depression; Parent-Child Relations; Parents - Psychology; Adaptation - Psychological; Regression Analysis; Cross-Sectional Studies
Subject - Local
Autism Spectrum Disorder; Parenting Style;
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Xu, Yangmu, "Parental Depression and Child Behavior Problems: A Closer Examination" (2014). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. Paper 278.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives