Risk for maternal depression and child aggression in Early Head Start families: A test of ecological models

Neema M. Malik, Neil W. Boris, Sherryl S. Heller, Brenda Jones Harden, Jane Squires, Rachel Chazan-Cohen, Linda S. Beeber, Karen J. Kaczynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Current literature indicates that risk for maternal depression is substantial in low-income families. A large body of research also indicates that when mothers are depressed, children are at risk for a number of developmental difficulties. While mutual influence between child and parental difficulties has been noted, few studies examine risk factors for both depression and child aggression within ecological models. The present cross-site study examined the unique and additive contributions of contextual factors, including SES and family functioning, on maternal depression and child aggression in Early Head Start families. A multiethnic sample of parents and their children, between the ages of 12 and 43 months, participated in this study. Families came from five Early Head Start programs across the United States, representing both urban and rural areas. Structural equation models (SEM) demonstrate mutual links between depression and aggression, mediated at least in part by ecological factors. SEM indicated that 36.4% of the variance in child aggression is accounted for in a model linking aggressive behavior to parent depression, stress, and couple-level functioning, as well as other family interaction variables. A second model focusing on maternal depression revealed that 44.5% of the variance in maternal depression was accounted for through family factors, including couple-related support and satisfaction and parenting stress. In this second model, child aggression was indirectly linked to maternal depression. These data have important implications for programs serving at-risk families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-191
Number of pages21
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

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Aggression
Mothers
Depression
Structural Models
Parenting
Parents
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Malik, N. M., Boris, N. W., Heller, S. S., Harden, B. J., Squires, J., Chazan-Cohen, R., ... Kaczynski, K. J. (2007). Risk for maternal depression and child aggression in Early Head Start families: A test of ecological models. Infant Mental Health Journal, 28(2), 171-191. https://doi.org/10.1002/imhj.20128

Risk for maternal depression and child aggression in Early Head Start families : A test of ecological models. / Malik, Neema M.; Boris, Neil W.; Heller, Sherryl S.; Harden, Brenda Jones; Squires, Jane; Chazan-Cohen, Rachel; Beeber, Linda S.; Kaczynski, Karen J.

In: Infant Mental Health Journal, Vol. 28, No. 2, 01.03.2007, p. 171-191.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Malik, NM, Boris, NW, Heller, SS, Harden, BJ, Squires, J, Chazan-Cohen, R, Beeber, LS & Kaczynski, KJ 2007, 'Risk for maternal depression and child aggression in Early Head Start families: A test of ecological models', Infant Mental Health Journal, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 171-191. https://doi.org/10.1002/imhj.20128
Malik, Neema M. ; Boris, Neil W. ; Heller, Sherryl S. ; Harden, Brenda Jones ; Squires, Jane ; Chazan-Cohen, Rachel ; Beeber, Linda S. ; Kaczynski, Karen J. / Risk for maternal depression and child aggression in Early Head Start families : A test of ecological models. In: Infant Mental Health Journal. 2007 ; Vol. 28, No. 2. pp. 171-191.
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