B3825 - Parenting and child self-esteem and depression symptoms - 05/07/2021

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Ted Barker | University of Sussex (United Kingdom)
Giulianna Tanner
Title of project: 
Parenting and child self-esteem and depression symptoms
Proposal summary: 

The aim of this study is to analyse the relationship between mothers’ and fathers’ parenting and child depression trajectories, focusing on aspects which have received limited attention in the literature. Past research has examined how parenting behaviour has influenced child wellbeing, highlighting the positive association of parental control, rejection and unsupportiveness with child depression trajectories and low self-esteem (McLeod, Weisz, & Wood, 2007; Yasmin & Hossain, 2014). Conversely, parental warmth (Del Barrio, Holgado-Tello, & Carrasco, 2016) and supportive behaviour (Juang & Silbereisen, 1999) have been identified as protective factors on that may limit the severity of depression symptoms. Nonetheless, the literature on child psychopathologies so far has prevalently focused on mothers’ parenting, or has failed to distinguish between the individual effects of mothers’ and fathers’ parenting on child outcomes (Parent, Forehand, Pomerantz, Peisch, & Seehuus, 2017). This appears to be limiting, as the role of fathers on child outcomes was found to be distinct from that of mothers (Jeynes, 2016; Connell & Goodman, 2002).

Very few papers have looked at the relationship between self-esteem and depression considering both mothers and fathers. As strong evidence has identified low self-esteem as a precursor for depression (Manna, Falgares, Ingoglia, Como, & De Santis, 2016; McClure, 2010; Orth, 2018), we hypothesise it should play an important mediating role between parenting and child depression. In addition, parental depression could be an important environmental factor to consider, as it is related to higher levels of depression in children (Kwong et al., 2019; Natsuaki et al., 2014), whilst a child’s friendships could be considered as a protective factor, since they have been found to be negatively associated with mental health difficulties (Preddy & Fite, 2012).

This study will therefore examine how both mothers’ and fathers’ parenting affect child depression. The relationship between parenting and child depression will be analysed taking into consideration the mediating effects of the child’s self-esteem. We will also examine any moderating effect of maternal and paternal depression, and a potentially protective role of friendships.

Impact of research: 
This research will provide further knowledge on the role that the parental figures might have in the development of children’s mental health, specifically giving more insight into how it might affect self-esteem and depression. In particular, this paper could help better understand the relationship between father variables and child outcomes. This could help psychologists in the future develop more targeted strategies to prevent the development of and treat poor self-esteem and depression in childhood and adolescence.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 28 June, 2021
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 5 July, 2021
Epidemiology, Mental health, Statistical methods, Mothers - maternal age, menopause, obstetrics