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

  • Nicole Lafko Breslend (a1), Justin Parent (a2), Rex Forehand (a1), Virginia Peisch (a1) and Bruce E. Compas (a3)...


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.


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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Nicole Lafko Breslend or Rex Forehand, University of Vermont, Department of Psychological Science, John Dewey Building, Burlington, VT 05405; E-mail: or


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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.



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

  • Nicole Lafko Breslend (a1), Justin Parent (a2), Rex Forehand (a1), Virginia Peisch (a1) and Bruce E. Compas (a3)...


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