Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-sbc4w Total loading time: 0.372 Render date: 2021-02-27T09:25:08.343Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Children of parents with a history of depression: The impact of a preventive intervention on youth social problems through reductions in internalizing problems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2017

Nicole Lafko Breslend
University of Vermont
Justin Parent
Florida International University
Rex Forehand
University of Vermont
Virginia Peisch
University of Vermont
Bruce E. Compas
Vanderbilt University


The current investigation examined if changes in youth internalizing problems as a result of a family group cognitive behavioral (FGCB) preventive intervention for families with a parent with a history of depression had a cascade effect on youth social problems over 24 months and the bidirectional nature of these effects. One hundred eighty families with a parent with a history of major depressive disorder (M age = 41.96; 88.9% mothers) and a youth age 9 to 15 years (49.4% females; M age = 11.46) participated. Findings from a panel model indicated that, compared to a minimum intervention condition, the FGCB intervention significantly reduced youth internalizing problems at 12 months that in turn were associated with lower levels of social problems at 18 months. Similarly, the FGCB intervention reduced internalizing problems at 18 months, which were associated with fewer social problems at 24 months. Changes in social problems were not related to reductions in subsequent internalizing problems. The findings suggest that reductions in youth internalizing problems can lead to lower levels of social problems. Youth social problems are difficult to change; therefore, targeting internalizing problems may be an effective way to reduce the social problems of children of parents with a history of depression.

Regular Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Funding for this research was supported by Grants R01MH069940 (B.E.C., Principal Investigator [PI]) and R01MH069928 (R.F., PI) from the National Institute of Mental Health and gifts from the Ansbacher family (R.F., PI) and Patricia and Rodes Hart (B.E.C., PI). Preparation of this article was also partially supported by NIMH Grant R01MH100377 (Deborah J. Jones, PI; to V.P.) and NICHD Grant F31HD082858 that funded the fourth author's (J.P.) training. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for ASEBA school-age forms and profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, and Families.Google Scholar
Agoston, A. M., & Rudolph, K. D. (2013). Pathways from depressive symptoms to low social status. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 295308. doi:10.1007/s10802-012-9675-yCrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Angold, A., Costello, E. J., & Erkanli, A. (1999). Comorbidity. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40, 5787. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.00424Google ScholarPubMed
Asher, S. R., & Hymel, S. (1986). Coaching in social skills for children who lack friends in school. Children and Schools, 8, 205218. doi:10.1093/cs/8.4.205Google Scholar
Beardslee, W. R., Gladstone, T. R., & O'Connor, E. E. (2011). Transmission and prevention of mood disorders among children of affectively ill parents: A review. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 50, 10981109. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2011.07.020Google ScholarPubMed
Bettis, A. H., Forehand, R., Sterba, S. K., Preacher, K. J., & Compas, B. E. (2016). Anxiety and depression in children of depressed parents: Dynamics of change in a preventive intervention. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/15374416.2016.1225503Google Scholar
Boivin, M., & Hymel, S. (1997). Peer experiences and social self-perceptions: A sequential model. Developmental Psychology, 33, 135. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.33.1.135Google ScholarPubMed
Brendgen, M., Vitaro, F., Turgeon, L., & Poulin, F. (2002). Assessing aggressive and depressed children's social relations with classmates and friends: A matter of perspective. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 609624. doi:10.1023/A:1020863730902CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Brown, B. B., Clasen, D. R., & Eicher, S. A. (1986). Perceptions of peer pressure, peer conformity dispositions, and self-reported behavior among adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 22, 521530. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.22.4.521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buhs, E. S., & Ladd, G. W. (2001). Peer rejection as antecedent of young children's school adjustment: An examination of mediating processes. Developmental Psychology, 37, 550. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.37.4.550CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Burt, K. B., Obradović, J., Long, J. D., & Masten, A. S. (2008). The interplay of social competence and psychopathology over 20 years: Testing transactional and cascade models. Child Development, 79, 359374. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01130.xCrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cicchetti, D., & Hinshaw, S. P. (2002). Editorial: Prevention and intervention science: Contributions to developmental theory. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 667671. doi:10.1017/S0954579402004017CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Coie, J. D., & Dodge, K. A. (1998). Aggression and antisocial behavior. In William, D. & Eisenberg, N. (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Social, emotional, and personality development (pp. 779862). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
Compas, B. E., Champion, J. E., Forehand, R., Cole, D. A., Reeslund, K. L., Fear, J., … Roberts, L. (2010). Coping and parenting: Mediators of 12-month outcomes of a family group cognitive-behavioral preventive intervention with families of depressed parents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78, 623634. doi:10.1037/a0020459CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Compas, B. E., Forehand, R., Keller, G., Champion, J. E., Rakow, A., Reeslund, K. L., … Cole, D. A. (2009). Randomized controlled trial of a family cognitive-behavioral preventive intervention for children of depressed parents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77, 10071020. doi:10.1037/a0016930CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Compas, B. E., Forehand, R., Thigpen, J., Hardcastle, E., Garai, E., McKee, L., … Sterba, S. (2015). Efficacy and moderators of a family cognitive behavioral preventive intervention for children of depressed parents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 541553. doi:10.1037/a0039053Google Scholar
Compas, B. E., Forehand, R., Thigpen, J. C., Keller, G., Hardcastle, E. J., Cole, D. A., … Roberts, L. (2011). Family group cognitive–behavioral preventive intervention for families of depressed parents: 18- and 24-month outcomes. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79, 488499. doi:10.1037/a0024254CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. (1999). Initial impact of the Fast Track prevention trial for conduct problems: II. Classroom effects. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 648.Google Scholar
Crick, N. R., & Grotpeter, J. K. (1995). Relational aggression, gender, and social-psychological adjustment. Child Development, 66, 710722. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1995.tb00900.xCrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Crick, N. R., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2003). The development of psychopathology in females and males: Current progress and future challenges. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 719742. doi:10.1017/S095457940300035XCrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cullerton-Sen, C., & Crick, N. R. (2005). Understanding the effects of physical and relational victimization: The utility of multiple perspectives in predicting social-emotional adjustment. School Psychology Review, 34, 147160.Google Scholar
Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G. S. (1990). Mechanisms in the cycle of violence. Science, 250, 16781683.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ebesutani, C., Bernstein, A., Martinez, J. I., Chorpita, B. F., & Weisz, J. R. (2011). The Youth Self-Report: Applicability and validity across younger and older youths. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40, 338346. doi:10.1080/15374416.2011.546041CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
England, M. J., & Sim, L. J. (Eds.). (2009). Depression in parents, parenting, and children: Opportunities to improve identification, treatment, and prevention. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
Feurer, C., Hammen, C. L., & Gibb, B. E. (2016). Chronic and episodic stress in children of depressed mothers. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 45, 270278. doi:10.1080/15374416.2014.963859CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
First, M. B., Spitzer, R. L., Gibbon, M., & Williams, J. B. (2001). Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR Axis I disorders—Non-patient edition. New York: New York State Psychiatric Institute.Google Scholar
Goodman, S. H., & Gotlib, I. H. (1999). Risk for psychopathology in the children of depressed mothers: A developmental model for understanding mechanisms of transmission. Psychological Review, 106, 458490. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.106.3.458CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Goodman, S. H., Rouse, M. H., Connell, A. M., Broth, M. R., Hall, C. M., & Heyward, D. (2011). Maternal depression and child psychopathology: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 14, 127. doi:10.1007/s10567-010-0080-1CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Goodman, S. H., & Tully, E. (2006). Depression in women who are mothers: An integrative model of risk for the development of psychopathology in their sons and daughters. In Keyes, C. L. M. & Goodman, S. H. (Eds.), Women and depression: A handbook for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences (pp. 241280). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hammen, C., & Brennan, P. A. (2001). Depressed adolescents of depressed and nondepressed mothers: Tests of an interpersonal impairment hypothesis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 284294. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.69.2.284CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Henricsson, L., & Rydell, A. M. (2006). Children with behaviour problems: The influence of social competence and social relations on problem stability, school achievement and peer acceptance across the first six years of school. Infant and Child Development, 15, 347366. doi:10.1002/icd.448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoglund, W. L., & Chisholm, C. A. (2014). Reciprocating risks of peer problems and aggression for children's internalizing problems. Developmental Psychology, 50, 586599. doi:10.1037/a0033617CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hoza, B., Gerdes, A. C., Mrug, S., Hinshaw, S. P., Bukowski, W. M., Gold, J. A., … Greenhill, L. L. (2005). Peer-assessed outcomes in the multimodal treatment study of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 34, 7486. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp3401_7CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hu, L. T., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 155. doi 10.1080/10705519909540118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ivanova, M. Y., Achenbach, T. M., Rescorla, L. A., Dumenci, L., Almqvist, F., Bilenberg, N., … Erol, N. (2007). The generalizability of the Youth Self-Report syndrome structure in 23 societies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75, 729. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.75.5.729Google ScholarPubMed
Kaufman, J., Birmaher, B., Brent, D., Rao, U., Flynn, C., Moreci, P., … Ryan, N. (1997). Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children—Present and Lifetime version (K-SADSPL): Initial reliability and validity data. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 980988. doi:10.1097/00004583-199707000-00021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kawabata, Y., Crick, N. R., & Hamaguchi, Y. (2010). Forms of aggression, social-psychological adjustment, and peer victimization in a Japanese sample: The moderating role of positive and negative friendship quality. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38, 471484. doi:10.1007/s10802-010-9386-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kochel, K. P., Ladd, G. W., & Rudolph, K. D. (2012). Longitudinal associations among youth depressive symptoms, peer victimization, and low peer acceptance: An interpersonal process perspective. Child Development, 83, 637650. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01722.xGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kraemer, H. C., Kiernan, M., Essex, M., & Kupfer, D. J. (2008). How and why criteria defining moderators and mediators differ between the Baron & Kenny and MacArthur approaches. Health Psychology, 27, 101108. doi:10.1037/0278-6133.27.2(Suppl.).S101CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Leadbeater, B. J., & Hoglund, W. L. (2009). The effects of peer victimization and physical aggression on changes in internalizing from first to third grade. Child Development, 80, 843859. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01301.xCrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lyubomirsky, S., Caldwell, N. D., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1998). Effects of ruminative and distracting responses to depressed mood on retrieval of autobiographical memories. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 166. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.75.1.166CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Masten, A. S., & Cicchetti, D. (2010). Developmental cascades. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 491495. doi:10.1017/S0954579410000222CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
McMahon, R. J., & Forehand, R. (2003). Helping the noncompliant child: A clinician's guide to effective parent training. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
McQuade, J., Breslend, N. L., & Groff, D. (2017). Experiences of physical and relational victimization in children with ADHD: The role of social problems and aggression. Manuscript in preparation.Google Scholar
Moote, G. T., Smyth, N. J., & Wodarski, J. S. (1999). Social skills training with youth in school settings: A review. Research on Social Work Practice, 9, 427465. doi:10.1177/104973159900900403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morrow, M. T., Hubbard, J. A., McAuliffe, M. D., Rubin, R. M., & Dearing, K. F. (2006). Childhood aggression, depressive symptoms, and peer rejection: The mediational model revisited. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 30, 240248. doi:10.1177/0165025406066757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Müller, J. M., Achtergarde, S., & Furniss, T. (2011). The influence of maternal psychopathology on ratings of child psychiatric symptoms: An SEM analysis on cross-informant agreement. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 20, 241252. doi:10.1007/s00787-011-0168-2CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Muthén, B. O. (1989). Latent variable modeling in heterogeneous populations. Psychometrika, 54, 557585. doi:10.1007/BF02296397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muthén, L., & Muthén, B. O. (2010). Mplus user's guide (6th ed.). Los Angeles: Author.Google Scholar
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2001). Gender differences in depression. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 173176. doi:10.1111/1467-8721.00142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pedersen, S., Vitaro, F., Barker, E. D., & Borge, A. I. (2007). The timing of middle-childhood peer rejection and friendship: Linking early behavior to early-adolescent adjustment. Child Development, 78, 10371051. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01051CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pomerantz, E. M., & Rudolph, K. D. (2003). What ensues from emotional distress? Implications for competence estimation. Child Development, 74, 329345. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.7402001CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Reijntjes, A., Kamphuis, J. H., Prinzie, P., & Telch, M. J. (2010). Peer victimization and internalizing problems in children: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Child Abuse and Neglect, 34, 244252. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2009.07.009CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rudolph, K. D. (2002). Gender differences in emotional responses to interpersonal stress during adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30, 313. doi:10.1016/S1054-139X(01)00383-4Google ScholarPubMed
Rudolph, K. D., Flynn, M., & Abaied, J. L. (2008). A developmental perspective on interpersonal theories of youth depression. In Abela, J. R. Z. & Hankin, B. L. (Eds.), Handbook of depression in children and adolescents (pp. 79102). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
Rudolph, K. D., Ladd, G., & Dinella, L. (2007). Gender differences in the interpersonal consequences of early-onset depressive symptoms. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 53, 461488. doi:10.1353/mpq.2007.0020CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Satorra, A. (2000). Scaled and adjusted restricted tests in multi-sample analysis of moment structures. In Heijmans, R. D. H, Pollock, D. S. G., & Santorra, A. (Eds.), Innovations in multivariate statistical analysis (pp. 233247). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schleider, J. L., Ginsburg, G. S., & Drake, K. (2017). Perceived peer victimization predicts anxiety outcomes in a prevention program for offspring of anxious parents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/15374416.2016.1270831Google Scholar
Schwartz, D., McFadyen-Ketchum, S., Dodge, K. A., Pettit, G. S., & Bates, J. E. (1999). Early behavior problems as a predictor of later peer group victimization: Moderators and mediators in the pathways of social risk. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 27, 191201. doi:10.1023/A:1021948206165CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Seifer, R., Dickstein, S., Sameroff, A. J., Magee, K. D., & Hayden, L. C. (2001). Infant mental health and variability of parental depression symptoms. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 13751382. doi:10.1097/00004583-200112000-00007CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Serdiouk, M., Rodkin, P., Madill, R., Logis, H., & Gest, S. (2015). Rejection and victimization among elementary school children: The buffering role of classroom-level predictors. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 517. doi:10.1007/s10802-013-9826-9CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Simons, R. L., Wu, C. I., Conger, R. D., & Lorenz, F. O. (1994). Two routes to delinquency: Differences between early and late starters in the impact of parenting and deviant peers. Criminology, 32, 247276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Snyder, J., Brooker, M., Patrick, M. R., Snyder, A., Schrepferman, L., & Stoolmiller, M. (2003). Observed peer victimization during early elementary school: Continuity, growth, and relation to risk for child antisocial and depressive behavior. Child Development, 74, 18811898. doi:10.1046/j.1467-8624.2003.00644.xCrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Taylor, S. E., Klein, L. C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A., & Updegraff, J. A. (2000). Biobehavioral responses to stress in females: Tend-and-befriend, not fight-or-flight. Psychological Review, 107, 411. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.107.3.411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
van Lier, P. A., & Koot, H. M. (2010). Developmental cascades of peer relations and symptoms of externalizing and internalizing problems from kindergarten to fourth-grade elementary school. Development and Psychopathology, 22, 569582. doi:10.1017/S0954579410000283CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Weissman, M. M., Warner, V., Wickramaratne, P., Moreau, D., & Olfson, M. (1997). Offspring of depressed parents: 10 years later. Archives of General Psychiatry, 54, 932940. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1997.01830220054009CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Zahn-Waxler, C., Cummings, E. M., Iannotti, R. J., & Radke-Yarrow, M. (1984). Young children of depressed parents: A population at risk for affective problems. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 26, 81105. doi:10.1002/cd.23219842607CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 45
Total number of PDF views: 285 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 12th December 2017 - 27th February 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Children of parents with a history of depression: The impact of a preventive intervention on youth social problems through reductions in internalizing problems
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Children of parents with a history of depression: The impact of a preventive intervention on youth social problems through reductions in internalizing problems
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Children of parents with a history of depression: The impact of a preventive intervention on youth social problems through reductions in internalizing problems
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *