Maternal Depression in Families of Children with ADHD: A Meta-Analysis
Although research has demonstrated a relationship between maternal depression and child attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); the strength of the relationship is currently unclear. The results of some studies have found a strong association between maternal depression and child ADHD, while other studies have found little or no association. A meta-analysis was conducted to clarify the strength of the association between maternal depression and child ADHD. The current study included 51 published and unpublished studies that included a quantitative comparison between maternal depression and child ADHD. Mothers of children with ADHD had significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms than mothers of children without ADHD (d = 0.58; 95% CI [0.43, 0.74]; p < .001; k = 18). The relationship between maternal depressive symptoms and child ADHD symptoms was moderate (r = .22; 95% CI [.17, .28]; p < .001; k = 21). 17.11% of mothers of children with ADHD currently met criteria for a depressive disorder (95% CI [11.95, 23.89], p < .001, k = 19). The DSM version used to evaluate child ADHD status was the only moderator that was statistically significant (p = .021, k = 15). Specifically, studies that used the DSM-III or DSM-III-R were associated with larger effect sizes than studies that used the DSM-IV or DSM-IV-TR. The results suggest that clinicians should screen for the possible co-occurrence of maternal depression when working with families of children with ADHD.
KeywordsMeta-analysis ADHD Depression Family systems Maternal depression
K. C.: designed and executed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. K. A.: assisted with the data analysis, collaborated with the design, collaborated with writing of the study, and editing of the final manuscript. M. A. W.: analyzed the data, collaborated with the design, assisted with writing of the study, and editing of the final manuscript. J. T.: collaborated with the design, assisted with writing of the study, and editing of the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Participants were not recruited for the current study and therefore, obtaining informed consent was not required.
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