Stressors, quality of the child-caregiver relationship, and children's mental health problems after parental death: The mediating role of self-system beliefs

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53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Investigated whether three self-system beliefs, fear of abandonment, coping efficacy, and self-esteem, mediated the relations of stressors and caregiver-child relationship quality with concurrent and prospective internalizing and externalizing problems in a sample of children who had experienced parental death in the previous 2.5 years. The cross-sectional sample consisted of 340 children ages 7-16 and their surviving parent/current caregiver; the longitudinal analyses employed a subset of this sample that consisted of 100 children and their parents/caregivers who were assessed at three time points. A multirater, multimethod measure of caregiver-child relationship quality and a multirater measure of children's mental health problems were used. The cross-sectional model supported a mediational relation for fear of abandonment, coping efficacy, and self-esteem. The three-wave longitudinal model showed that fear of abandonment at Time 2 mediated the relation between stressors at Time 1 and internalizing and externalizing problems at Time 3. Implications of these findings for understanding the development of mental health problems in parentally bereaved children and designing interventions for this at-risk group are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-238
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2006

Keywords

  • Coping efficacy
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Mental health problems of parentally bereaved children
  • Negative life events
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-system beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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