Maternal depressive symptoms, rumination, and child emotion regulation
Children of depressed mothers are at risk for maladaptive emotion regulation. This study examined a model of maternal rumination that links maternal depressive symptoms to child emotion regulation. A sample of 126 mother–child dyads (65 girls) participated in the current study, at three assessment points when children were age three, four, and five. At all assessment points, mothers reported their depressive symptoms and ruminative response style. Child emotion regulation was assessed observationally from two laboratory tasks, which were designed to elicit anger and sadness. Elevated maternal depressive symptoms were associated with higher concurrent rumination. Maternal rumination at child age four predicted that more child focus on distress during sadness-eliciting tasks and less child active distraction during anger-eliciting tasks 1 year later. Additionally, maternal rumination at child age three and four predicted less child passive behaviors in anger-eliciting tasks prospectively. Findings suggest that maternal rumination is predictive of using maladaptive regulatory strategies among children of depressed mothers. This study has significant implications for intervention programs targeting depressed mothers and their children.
KeywordsMaternal depressive symptoms Rumination Emotion regulation Emotion socialization Response style
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
- 5.Feng X, Shaw DS, Kovacs M, Lane T, O'Rourke FE, Alarcon JH (2008) Emotion regulation in preschoolers: the roles of behavioral inhibition, maternal affective behavior, and maternal depression. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2:132–141Google Scholar
- 33.U.S. Department of Commerce (2019) State & county quick facts. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/oh,US/INC110217. Updated 2019. Accessed 9 Mar 2019.
- 34.Goldsmith H, Reilly J, Lemery S, Longley S, Prescott A (1999) The laboratory assessment battery: preschool version (LAB-TAB). University of Wisconsin, MadisonGoogle Scholar
- 36.Beck AT, Steer RA, Brown GK (1996) Beck depression inventory-II (BDI-II). The Psychological Corporation, San AntonioGoogle Scholar
- 41.Team R (2014) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
- 42.Hu L, Bentler P (1995) Evaluating model fit. In: Hoyle R (ed) Structural equation modeling: concepts, issues, and applications. Sage, Thousand Oaks, pp 76–99Google Scholar