Parental depression and child well-being: young children's self-reports helped addressing biases in parent reports

Ank P Ringoot, Henning Tiemeier, Vincent W V Jaddoe, Pety So, Albert Hofman, Frank C Verhulst, Pauline W Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objectives:
Effects of maternal and paternal depression on child development are typically evaluated using parental reports of child problems. Yet, parental reports may be biased.

Methods:
In a population-based cohort, parents reported lifetime depression (N = 3,178) and depressive symptoms (N = 3,131). Child emotional and behavioral problems were assessed at age 6 years by child self-report using the Berkeley Puppet Interview, by mother report using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), and at age 3 years by father and mother reported CBCLs.

Results:
Both maternal and paternal depression was associated with more child problems. Associations were of similar strength if child problems were obtained by self-reports. However, if parents reported about their own depression or depressive symptoms and about their child's problems, estimates were generally stronger for associations with the reporting parent's depression as the determinant. For instance, if mothers reported child emotional problems, associations were stronger for maternal (B = 0.27; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.19, 0.35) than for paternal lifetime depression (B = 0.12; 95% CI = 0.02, 0.21; P-value for difference = 0.02).

Conclusion:
Depression of mothers and fathers affects young children's well-being. However, if parents reported about their own depression and about child problems, associations were inflated. To accurately estimate effects of parental depression, multiple-source data including young children's perspectives must be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-938
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Volume68
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders/epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents/psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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