Title

Trajectories of Mother-Child and Father-Child Relationships Across Middle Childhood and Associations with Depressive Symptoms

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Development and Psychopathology

Volume

31

Issue

4

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Publication Date

10-1-2019

First Page

1381

Last Page

1393

Abstract

Using a family systems perspective, we examined the trajectories of father-child and mother-child closeness and conflict across Grades 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6, and their associations with child depressive symptoms across middle childhood among 685 families in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD). Father-child and mother-child relationship conflict increased, whereas relationship closeness decreased from Grades 1 to 6. Girls with more slowly increasing father-child conflict, and more slowly decreasing father-child closeness, were at lower risk for depressive symptoms. Boys with more slowly increasing mother-child conflict were at lower risk for depressive symptoms. These findings highlight the important roles of both father-child and mother-child relationships in children's emotional adjustment during middle childhood.

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