Depressed mood and maternal report of child behavior problems: Another look at the depression-distortion hypothesis

Maria A. Gartstein, David J. Bridgett, Thomas J. Dishion, Noah K. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Scopus citations

Abstract

Caregiver depression has been described as leading to overreport of child behavior problems. This study examines this "depression-distortion" hypothesis in terms of high-risk families of young adolescents. Questionnaire data were collected from mothers, teachers, and fathers, and self-report information was obtained from youth between ages 10 and 14 years. First, convergent and discriminant validity were demonstrated for internalizing and externalizing multiagent constructs. Second, the depression-distortion hypothesis was examined, revealing a modest effect of maternal depression, leading to the inflation of reported son externalizing and daughter internalizing problems. The data suggest the need to consider multiple influences on parental perceptions of child behavior and psychopathology in research and clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Behavior problems
  • Depression
  • Gender differences
  • Parent report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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