Maternal depressive symptoms, and not anxiety symptoms, are associated with positive mother-child reporting discrepancies of internalizing problems in children: a report on the TRAILS Study

SLM Toorn, AC Huizink, Lisbeth Utens, Frank Verhulst, J Ormel, RF (Robert) Ferdinand

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Abstract

Maternal internalizing problems affect reporting of child's problem behavior. This study addresses the relative effects of maternal depressive symptoms versus anxiety symptoms and the association with differential reporting of mother and child on child's internalizing problems. The study sample comprised a cohort of 1,986 10- to 12-year-old children and their mothers from the Dutch general population in a cross sectional setup. Children's internalizing problems were assessed with the DSM-IV anxiety and affective problem scales of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Youth Self-Report (YSR). Current maternal internalizing problems were assessed with the depressive and anxiety symptom scales of the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS), while the TRAILS Family History Interview (FHI) measured lifetime maternal depression and anxiety. Results show that current and lifetime maternal depressive symptoms were associated with positive mother-child reporting discrepancies (i.e. mothers reporting more problems than their child). Considering the small amount of variance explained, we conclude that maternal depressive symptoms do not bias maternal reporting on child's internalizing problems to a serious degree. Studies concerning long term consequences of mother-child reporting discrepancies on child's internalizing problems are few, but show a risk for adverse outcome. More prognostic research is needed.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)379-388
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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