Objective: Current research has established that depression is a common outcome of child abuse. The current study extends previous research by examining the relationship between parental emotional and physical abuse and adolescents’ depressive symptoms using a prospective longitudinal design. We anticipated that this relationship would be mediated through problems in affect regulation, consistent with the view that the presence of abuse in the parent–child relationship would derail the development of adaptive affect regulation. Finally, we further examined gender-linked transmission of risk by considering both the gender of the parent perpetrating abuse and the gender of the adolescent. Methods: A sample of high-risk youth (N = 179; 46% female) from juvenile justice and clinical settings completed assessments regarding maternal and paternal physical and emotional abuse, affect dysregulation and depressive symptoms during three time points over the course of five years. Results: The relationship between maternal abuse and depressive symptoms was partially mediated through affect dysregulation at Time 1 and fully mediated at Time 2. In addition, adolescents’ reports of maternal abuse at Time 1 predicted their depressive symptoms in early adulthood even after accounting for the partial mediating role of affect dysregulation at each of the three timepoints of the study. It was also found that paternal abuse was related to depressive symptoms through an indirect relationship with affect dysregulation for males, but not females. Conclusion: These findings suggest that adolescence may be a sensitive developmental period wherein abuse experiences have profound direct and mediated influences on the risk for later depression. Adolescents or young adults who have experienced abuse may benefit from interventions designed to build affect regulation skills.
Moretti, M. M., & Craig, S. G. (2013). Maternal versus paternal physical and emotional abuse, affect regulation and risk for depression from adolescence to early adulthood. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37(1), 4-13. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.09.015 http://www.journals.elsevier.com/child-abuse-and-neglect/ NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Child Abuse & Neglect. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Child Abuse & Neglect, 37(1), 4-13. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2012.09.015
Child Abuse & Neglect
Maternal versus paternal physical and emotional abuse, affect regulation and risk for depression from adolescence to early adulthood
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