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Trajectories of internalizing and externalizing problems in preschoolers of depressed mothers: Examining gender differences.

Authors
  • Wang, Yiji1
  • Yan, Ni2
  • 1 School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, 402 Junxiu Building, 3663 North Zhongshan Road, Shanghai 200062, China. Electronic address: [email protected] , (China)
  • 2 Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, China. , (China)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of affective disorders
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2019
Volume
257
Pages
551–561
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.07.047
PMID: 31325897
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study sought to examine the development of global and co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems in preschoolers whose mothers have high depressive symptoms, a topic that is less often studied. This longitudinal study consisted of 201 families with mothers who reported clinically-relevant depressive symptoms. Mothers rated their depressive symptoms across children's first two years. Children's internalizing and externalizing problems were reported by caregivers or teachers at three waves in early childhood. Using growth curve analyses, findings revealed gender-variant patterns in the development of internalizing and externalizing problems. Across early childhood, boys of mothers with depressive symptoms exhibited stable internalizing and increasing externalizing problems whereas girls exhibited declining trajectories of both problems. Further examination of within-gender variation indicated the heterogeneity in trajectories of internalizing and externalizing problems only among girls. Moreover, the co-occurrence of internalizing and externalizing problems was evident in both genders. This study was based on a community sample and thus caution should be exerted to generalize findings to clinical samples. Findings suggest that boys may be at heightened risk for behavioral problems in the face of high maternal depressive symptoms and that internalizing and externalizing problems tend to co-occur in this group of at-risk preschoolers. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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