Maternal depression, maltreatment history, and child outcomes: The role of harsh parenting.

The link between maternal depression and negative child outcomes has been well-established; however, less is known regarding the impact of harsh parenting on child outcomes, especially for women living with depressive symptoms and whom also experienced child maltreatment. The purpose of this study was to examine harsh parenting practices as a mediator in this known association, in order to examine factors associated with negative child outcomes and to explore a reduction in future transmission of risk. Mediation analyses were conducted with 2 samples of mother—child dyads at separate time points (child age 6: n = 325; and youth age 12: n = 213) using data collected from the Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect. Only women who reported a history of childhood maltreatment were included in this study. Positive, significant associations were found between maternal depressive symptoms and child internalizing and externalizing symptoms at both ages. Further, partial mediation was established among maternal depressive symptoms, child outcomes, and harsh parenting practices. Analyses demonstrated that mothers with depressive symptoms and a history of maltreatment reported use of psychological and physical aggression with their children (age 6) and youth (age 12). Findings from this study bolstered existing research on maternal depression and child outcomes and extended current knowledge of the role of harsh parenting for children age 6 and youth age 12. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)