Category: Child / Adolescent - Anxiety
Anxiety and mood disorders are among the most prevalent mental health diagnoses (Kessler et al., 2005). Research has suggested that parental modeling of anxiety, avoidance, and worry is linked to child anxiety (Fisak & Grills-Taquechel, 2007). Furthermore, exposure to a depressed mother’s maladaptive cognitions, behaviors, and affect has been proposed as a mechanism contributing to child psychopathology (Goodman & Gotlib, 1999). Rumination in particular has been linked to the presence and persistence of anxiety and depression in adults (Fresco et al., 2002; Muris et al., 2005), but the effect of parental rumination on child symptom development remains untested. The current study tested for a significant indirect effect of maternal rumination on the relationship between parent anxiety and depression and child internalizing problems.
Participants were 45 children between the ages of 8 and 12 years (51.1% female, 75.6% non-Hispanic White) and their mothers, recruited from the Midwestern U.S. The following scales were included in the current study: Depression Anxiety Stress Scales- Depression and Anxiety, Ruminative Response Scale- Brooding, Child Behavior Checklist- Internalizing Problems, Temperament in Middle Childhood Questionnaire- Inhibitory Control, Early Adolescent Temperament Questionnaire- Inhibitory Control, and the Family Assessment Device-General Family Functioning scale. The current study tested two models. The first model included maternal anxiety as the independent variable, maternal rumination as the mediating variable, and child internalizing problems as the dependent variable. The second model included maternal depression as the independent variable, maternal rumination as the mediating variable, and child internalizing problems as the dependent variable. Child temperament and family functioning were controlled for in the analyses, as both have been found to predict psychopathology in children (Bogels & Brechman-Toussaint, 2006; Chronis-Tuscano et al., 2009). Results suggested that the overall model with maternal anxiety was significant, F(4, 36) = 6.45, p < .001, and explained 42% of the variance in child internalizing problems. The indirect effect of maternal rumination was significant, 95% CI: [.01, .70]. The model for maternal depression was significant, F(4, 38) = 4.14, p = .01, and explained 30% of the variance in child internalizing problems; however, there was no significant indirect effect of rumination, 95% CI: [-.28, 1.03].
Overall, results suggest that maternal rumination may play an important role in the development of internalizing problems in youth. There was a significant indirect effect of rumination on the relationship between maternal anxiety and child internalizing problems. Although replication is warranted, these findings provide initial support for a significant impact of rumination on the development of internalizing problems in children. Future research should continue to explore these variables longitudinally as this study was cross-sectional.
Mandi Logsdon– Graduate Student, Southern Illinois University, Carterville, Illinois
Kimberly Stevens– Graduate Student, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Moselle Campbell– Graduate Student, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois
Sarah Kertz– Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois