Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 155–171 | Cite as

Maternal Control and Adolescent Depression: Ethnic Differences Among Clinically Referred Girls

  • Jo-Ann S. Finkelstein
  • Geri R. Donenberg
  • Zoran Martinovich


The relationship between perceived maternal control and depression was examined in 111 urban adolescent girls seeking psychological services at an outpatient mental health center in the Midwest. This study sought to clarify inconsistent findings in earlier research linking parental control and adolescent depression by examining urban girls with mental health problems and by testing ethnic background as a moderator of the general relationship. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires of adolescent girls' depressive symptoms, and perceptions of their mothers' parenting styles. Analyses did not detect a significant association between maternal control and depression in the combined sample of adolescent girls; however, findings were moderated by the ethnicity of the girls. Once ethnicity was included, no relation between control and depression was found for Caucasian and Latina girls, but high control was linked to less depression among African American girls. These findings highlight the importance of ethnicity and gender in child rearing and adolescent depression and stress the need for more culturally sensitive conceptualizations of depression


Mental Health Depressive Symptom Mental Health Problem Adolescent Girl Parenting Style 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jo-Ann S. Finkelstein
  • Geri R. Donenberg
    • 1
  • Zoran Martinovich
    • 2
  1. 1.Northwestern University Medical SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Mental Health Services and Policy Program Institute for Health Services Research and Policy StudiesNorthwestern UniversityUSA

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