Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 389–398 | Cite as

Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Child Externalizing Problems: Moderating Effects of Emotionally Maltreating Parenting Behaviors

  • Courtney McCulloughEmail author
  • Anne Shaffer
Original Paper


While prior research has examined the relationship between maternal depressive symptoms and child externalizing behaviors, little research has focused specifically on the moderating effects of observed parenting behaviors on this relationship. This study was conducted to investigate the role of emotionally maltreating parenting behaviors, which were hypothesized to exacerbate the strength of the relationship between maternal depressive symptoms and child behavior problems. Maternal depressive symptoms, child externalizing problems, and emotionally maltreating parenting behaviors were assessed in a community sample of 62 mother–child dyads (with children age 8–11 years). Results indicated the overall model was significant, after controlling for maternal race, as was the interaction between maternal depressive symptoms and emotionally maltreating parenting behaviors. Based on these findings, future research is needed to identify potential protective factors that may prevent depressive symptoms from negatively affecting parenting behaviors, with the attendant goal of decreasing risk for emotional maltreatment.


Emotional maltreatment Maternal depressive symptoms Externalizing problems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Psychology BuildingUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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