Objective. We investigated the role of mothers' elevated depressive symptoms on scaffolding and availability to assist preschool children's regulatory development. Design. A sample of 208 3-year-olds and their mothers was drawn from an ongoing longitudinal study and followed to child age 4. Maternal scaffolding behaviors and children's emotion regulation competencies were assessed using behavioral coding schemes applied to observations of structured laboratory tasks, and maternal depressive symptoms and child behavior problems were based on parental reports. Results. Mothers who reported depressive symptoms above an established threshold at child age 3 had children who exhibited greater dysregulation and behavior problems at age 4. Depressed mothers were less effective at providing emotional, motivational, and technical scaffolding. Mothers who scaffolded less effectively, regardless of depression status, had children who were more emotionally dysregulated with more behavior problems by age 4. Scaffolding did not mediate maternal depression and child dysregulation. Conclusions. Maternal depression constitutes a risk factor for ineffective scaffolding, and scaffolding during the preschool period is related to children's emotional and behavioral competence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology