Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 11, pp 3462–3473 | Cite as

Parental Depressive Symptoms and Children’s School-Readiness: The Indirect Effect of Household Chaos

Original Paper


The relationship between parental depressive symptoms and children’s school-readiness has been well-established. However, contextual factors that may transmit the negative influence of parents’ depressive symptoms on children has less been studied. The current study examined household chaos, the level of crowdedness, disorganization, noise, and lack of routine at home as a mediating factor between parental depressive symptoms and children’s school-readiness. The data came from 444 preschool-aged children (36–70 months old). Parents and teachers reported on children’s socio-emotional development and children were directly assessed on literacy, math, and behavioral self-regulation. Structural equation modeling was used to test the indirect association, using the bootstrapping technique. Results revealed that parents’ depressive symptoms were significantly associated with their report of household chaos, which in turn was significantly related with children’s cognitive skills, mother-reported socio-emotional development, and behavioral self-regulation. Test of indirect effects showed that household chaos had significant indirect effect only between parental depressive symptoms and mother-reported social skills. The negative association between depressive symptoms and child outcomes were statistically significant regardless of the level of household chaos. The results of the study reveal that parents who have depressive symptoms may elicit more chaotic home environments, which affects their children’s socio-emotional development.


Parental depressive symptoms Household chaos Academic achievement Social skills Behavioral self-regulation 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human SciencesOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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