From Parent to Child to Parent: Associations Between Parent and Offspring Psychopathology

Y Xërxa, LA Rescorla, J. (Jan) van der Ende, Manon Hillegers, Frank Verhulst, Henning Tiemeier

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Parental psychopathology can affect child functioning, and vice versa. We examined bidirectional associations between parent and offspring psychopathology in 5,536 children and their parents. We asked three questions: (a) are parent-to-child associations stronger than child-to-parent associations? (b) are mother-to-child associations stronger than father-to-child associations? and (c) do within- and between-person effects contribute to bidirectional associations between parent and offspring psychopathology? Our findings suggest that only within-rater bidirectional associations of parent and offspring psychopathology can be consistently detected, with no difference between mothers and fathers. Child psychopathology was hardly associated with parental psychopathology. No evidence for cross-rater child-to-parent associations was found suggesting that the within-rater child-to-parent associations reflect shared method variance. Moreover, within-person change accounted for a part of the variance observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-307
Number of pages17
JournalChild Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2020 The Authors. Child Development published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Research in Child Development.

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  • EMC OR-01

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