Temperament as a Moderator of the Effects of Parental Depressive Symptoms on Child Behavior Problems
Parental depressive symptomatology has consistently been linked to child maladjustment, but these effects are not universal. This investigation examined the role of child temperament as a moderator of the effects of parental depression on behavior problems in five-year-old children. Parents reported on their own depressive symptoms, and both parents and teachers reported on child behavior. Temperament was assessed by both parent-report and structured observation. Results indicated significant associations between behavior problems and both depressive symptoms (maternal and paternal) and child temperament (effortful control and negative affect). Child surgency moderated the effects of both maternal and paternal depressive symptoms on child behavior problems. Child negative affect and incongruous negative emotionality moderated the effects of maternal depressive symptoms on child behavior problems. These findings point to the importance of examining multiple factors within the family system to further understand the processes of child development.