Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 803–813 | Cite as

The Relations among Maternal Depressive Disorder, Maternal Expressed Emotion, and Toddler Behavior Problems and Attachment

  • Julie A. Gravener
  • Fred A. Rogosch
  • Assaf Oshri
  • Angela J. Narayan
  • Dante Cicchetti
  • Sheree L. Toth


Direct and indirect relations among maternal depression, maternal Expressed Emotion (EE: Self- and Child-Criticism), child internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and child attachment were examined. Participants were mothers with depression (n = 130) and comparison mothers (n = 68) and their toddlers (M age = 20 mo.; 53% male). Assessments included the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (maternal depression); the Five Minute Speech Sample (EE); the Child Behavior Checklist (toddler behavior problems); the Strange Situation (child attachment). Direct relations were significant linking: 1) maternal depression with both EE and child functioning; 2) Child-Criticism with child internalizing and externalizing symptoms; 3) Self-Criticism with child attachment. Significant indirect relations were found linking maternal depression with: 1) child externalizing behaviors via Child-Criticism; 2) child internalizing behaviors via Self- and Child-Criticism; and 3) child attachment via Self-Criticism. Findings are consistent with a conceptual model in which maternal EE mediates relations between maternal depression and toddler socio-emotional functioning.


Maternal depression Expressed emotion Attachment Internalizing behaviors Externalizing behaviors Criticism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie A. Gravener
    • 1
    • 4
  • Fred A. Rogosch
    • 1
  • Assaf Oshri
    • 1
  • Angela J. Narayan
    • 2
  • Dante Cicchetti
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sheree L. Toth
    • 1
  1. 1.Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyUniversity of Rochester, Mt. Hope Family CenterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Child DevelopmentUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Child Development and Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Mt. Hope Family CenterRochesterUSA

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