Article

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 387-400

First online:

Mother–Child Relationships of Children with ADHD: The Role of Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Depression-Related Distortions

  • Terry C. ChiAffiliated withUniversity of California
  • , Stephen P. Hinshaw

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Abstract

We investigated the DepressionDistortion hypothesis by examining the effects of maternal depressive symptoms on cross-informant discrepancies in reports of child behavior problems and several measures of parent–child relationship. The sample included ninety-six 6 to 10-year-old children diagnosed with ADHD-Combined Type, and their mothers, who provided baseline data before participating in a randomized clinical trial. Measures incorporated child characteristics, self-reports of maternal depressive symptoms, parenting practices, and laboratory mother–child interactions. Elevations in maternal depressive symptoms were associated with maternal reports of negative parenting style but not with observed laboratory interactions. Mothers' levels of depressive symptoms predicted negative biases in their reports of their child's ADHD symptoms, general behavior problems, and their own negative parenting style. Whereas levels of depressive symptoms did not predict observed parenting behaviors, maternal distortions did predict problematic parent–child interactions. Exploratory analyses showed a marginally significant mediation effect of the relationship between maternal depressive symptomatology and reports of negative parenting by depressive distortions. We discuss implications of linkages between depressive symptoms in mothers, depression-related distortions, and mother–child relationships for research and intervention in developmental psychopathology.

attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder depression-related distortions parenting styles parent–child interactions