Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 517–527 | Cite as

Parental Depression and Associations with Parenting and Children’s Physical and Mental Health in a Sub-Saharan African Setting

  • Keng-Yen Huang
  • Gloria Abura
  • Rachelle Theise
  • Janet Nakigudde
Original Article


Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health challenges in low- and middle-income countries. However, the mechanisms of parental depression on children’s development are understudied in these countries. This study examined the prevalence of parental depression, contextual predictors of parental depression, and the associations between parental depression, parenting and children’s development in one of the Sub-Saharan African countries-Uganda. Three hundred and three Ugandan parents of young children were recruited and interviewed. Results indicated that about 28 % of parents were depressed. Contextual factors such as low educational attainment, food insecurity, low social support, and high number of children were associated with parental depression. Structural equation modeling also indicated that Ugandan parents’ depression was associated with less optimal parenting, and higher problem behavior, lower social competence, and poorer physical health and school functioning in children. Results provide several cross cultural consistency evidence in associations among parental depression, parenting, and child development.


Parental depression Parenting Child mental health Uganda Sub-Saharan Africa Low- and middle-income country 



Funding provided by National Institutes of Mental Health (1R21MH097115-01A1). We wish to acknowledge the generous participation of the schools, community leaders and parents; data collection assistance from Joy Gumikiriza, Diana Kalema, and Annet Kembabazi; and technical support from ChildFund Uganda and Child Protection in Crisis Network for Research, Learning and Action.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Population HealthNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.College of Health ScienceMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda
  3. 3.Department of Population HealthNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.College of Health ScienceMakerere UniversityKampalaUganda

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