Parents who are involved with child welfare services (CWSI) often have a history of childhood adversity and depressive symptoms. Both affect parenting quality, which in turn influences child adaptive functioning. We tested a model of the relations between parental depression and child regulatory outcomes first proposed by K. Lyons-Ruth, R. Wolfe, A. Lyubchik, and R. Steingard (2002). We hypothesized that both parental depression and parenting quality mediate the effects of parental early adversity on offspring regulatory outcomes. Participants were 123 CWSI parents and their toddlers assessed three times over a period of 6 months. At Time 1, parents reported on their childhood adversity and current depressive symptoms. At Time 2, parents’ sensitivity to their child's distress and nondistress cues was rated from a videotaped teaching task. At Time 3, observers rated children's emotional regulation, orientation/engagement, and secure base behavior. The results of a path model partly supported the hypotheses. Parent childhood adversity was associated with current depressive symptoms, which in turn related to parent sensitivity to child distress, but not nondistress. Sensitivity to distress also predicted secure base behavior. Depression directly predicted orientation/engagement, also predicted by sensitivity to nondistress. Sensitivity to distress predicted emotion regulation and orientation/engagement. Results are discussed in terms of intervention approaches for CWSI families. (Author abstract)
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