Parental and Child Psychopathology: Moderated Mediation by Gender and Parent–Child Relationship Quality

  • Annabel O. Franz
  • Cliff McKinney
Original Article


Previous literature has not examined the processes underlying the relations among parent–child relationship quality, parental psychopathology, and child psychopathology in the context of gender. Further, research examining these variables in emerging adulthood is lacking. The current study examined whether parent–child relationship quality would mediate the relation between parental and child psychopathology, and whether gender moderated these associations. Participants were emerging adults (N = 665) who reported on perceptions of their parents’ and their own psychological problems as well as their parent–child relationship quality. Results indicated that the relation between parental internalizing problems and parent–child relationship quality was positive for males, and that mother–child relationship quality was related positively to psychological problems in males. This suggests that sons may grow closer to their parents (particularly their mother) who are exhibiting internalizing problems; in turn, this enmeshed relationship may facilitate transmission of psychopathology. Mediational paths were conditional upon gender, suggesting moderated mediation. Overall, the current study emphasizes that the complexities of parenting must be understood in the context of gender. Further, the mother–son dyad may particularly warrant further attention.


Parent Emerging adult Gender Psychopathology Parent–child relationship 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Mississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

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