Parental Depression and Adolescent Well-being

Jessica Hardie , Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY)
Kristin Turney, University of California, Irvine

Life course theory posits that parents’ and children’s lives are linked through shared experiences and interdependent contexts. In this paper, we draw on life course theory to examine how parental depression is linked to adolescent wellbeing, and how several features of the family context explain this association. This study uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=3,437), and incorporates multiple measures of adolescent mental health and positive functioning. First, we find that parental depression is associated with adolescent children’s depression, anxiety, engagement, perseverance, and happiness. Second, we find that the association between parental depression and adolescent children’s depression and anxiety are present for daughters, but not sons. Finally, we find that the family environment and parent-child relationships moderate the association between parental depression and adolescent wellbeing. These findings inform our understanding of how parent and child wellbeing is linked at a key point in the life course.

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 Presented in Session 247. Families and Adolescent Health