The influence of parental depression, interparental conflict and parent-child hostility on the development of psychopathology in children and adolescents

Arnold, Kate (2016) The influence of parental depression, interparental conflict and parent-child hostility on the development of psychopathology in children and adolescents. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Parental depression has been highlighted as a major risk factor for the development of psychopathology in children and adolescents (Mars et al, 2012; Sellers et al, 2013). Garber & Martin (2002) suggest that the primary environmental stressor that children living with depressed parents are exposed to relates to the impact of maternal depression on marital conflict. Interparental conflict has been demonstrated to have negative effects on various aspects of family functioning and relationships. Strong associations between conflict levels in parental relationships and negative parent-child relationships support this theory (Erel & Burmann, 1995). The parent- child relationship is viewed as a central mechanism for the transmission of psychopathology across generations of a family (Rutter et al., 2010).

This thesis examines the relationship between parental depression and family processes (specifically interparental and parent-child relationships) on the development of depressive and aggressive symptoms in children and adolescents. Four data sets examine these associations: a high risk sample of parents with recurrent depression and their adolescent children (Early Prediction of Adolescent Depression, EPADS), a community sample of low-risk adolescents and their families (Welsh Family Study, WFS), a sample of families who have conceived children using Artificial Reproductive Technologies (the Cardiff IVF Study, C-IVF) and a longitudinal adoption study (Early Growth and Development Study, EGDS). Findings from this thesis presents evidence that a process exists by which parental depressive symptoms contribute to the development of psychopathology in children and adolescents through disrupted interparental and parent-child relationships. Parental depression was consistently associated with interparental conflict, which in turn was associated with higher levels of parent-child hostility. For child outcomes, the most consistent finding was the association between parent-child hostility and child and adolescent symptoms of aggression. This was observed in all four data sets, in a variety of samples and across a range of developmental periods. The association was observed where adolescents were classed as being at either a high or low-risk for the development of psychopathology, and for those families where parents were rearing genetically related and genetically unrelated children.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0712 Developmental psychology Including infant psychology, child psychology, adolescence, adulthood > BF0724 Adolesence. Youth
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2016 14:04
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2016 14:04
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/61383

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