. "3 The Etiology of Depression." Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children: Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment, and Prevention. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children: Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment, and Prevention
poorer quality of relationships (Carnelley, Pietromonaco, and Jaffe, 1994). Individuals exposed to ineffective parental role models are also likely to fail to acquire the social problem-solving skills needed to resolve conflicts in close relationships.
An additional pathway to discord is that depressed people tend to marry other people with psychological problems, thus increasing the chances of marital disharmony. A review and meta-analysis of several studies of patients with mood disorders confirmed the significant likelihood that individuals with depressive disorders marry others with depression (Mathews and Reus, 2001). Depressed women patients have also been found to have higher rates of marriage to men with antisocial and substance use disorders (e.g., Hammen, 1991a). Research on nonpatient samples also shows spouse similarity for depressive disorders (e.g., Galbaud du Fort et al., 1998; Hammen and Brennan, 2002) and wives’ major depression associated with husbands’ antisocial personality disorder (Galbaud du Fort et al., 1998). While the possible reasons for “nonrandom mating” are beyond the scope of this report, the implications of such marital patterns are clear: Marriages in which both partners experience symptoms and vulnerabilities to disorder may give rise to marital discord and instability by contributing to stressful home environments and potentially to limited skills for resolving interpersonal disputes.
Parenting problems and conflicts between parents and children are commonly associated with depression. Chapter 4, on the effects of parental depression on children, details the nature, extent, and consequences of dysfunctional parenting. Despite the desire of most depressed parents to provide nurturing, consistent, and responsive parenting, many are significantly likely to be negative, critical, or withdrawn in their interactions with their children (e.g., Lovejoy et al., 2000). Notably, intergenerational patterns of parenting problems are evident, with depressed adults highly likely to report that they had difficulties with their own parents (e.g., reviewed in Parker and Gladstone, 1996).
Related findings have been reported in community samples, in which depressed individuals reported more negative views of their parents (e.g., Blatt et al., 1979; Holmes and Robins, 1987, 1988). Andrews and Brown (1988), for example, found that women who became clinically depressed following occurrence of major life events were more likely to report lack of adequate parental care or hostility from their mothers, compared with those who did not become depressed (see also Brown and Harris, 1993). When dealing with vulnerable populations, it is important to consider that parenting style may differ by ethnicity as well as by views on what constitutes appropriate parenting and parenting values (Pinderhughes et al., 2000).
Intergenerational conflict is common among immigrant parents