Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Child Behavior Problems Among Latina Adolescent Mothers: The Buffering Effect of Mother-Reported Partner Child Care Involvement
Abstract

We examined the relations between maternal depressive symptoms and child internalizing and externalizing problems in a sample of 125 adolescent Latina mothers (primarily Puerto Rican) and their toddlers. We also tested the influence of mother-reported partner child care involvement on child behavior problems and explored mother-reported partner characteristics that related to this involvement. Results suggested that maternal depressive symptoms related to child internalizing and externalizing problems when accounting for contextual risk factors. Importantly, these symptoms mediated the link between life stress and child behavior problems. Mother-reported partner child care interacted with maternal depressive symptoms for internalizing, not externalizing, problems. Specifically, depressive symptoms related less strongly to internalizing problems at higher levels of partner child care than at lower levels. Participants with younger partners, coresiding partners and in longer romantic relationships reported higher partner child care involvement. Results are discussed considering implications for future research and interventions for mothers, their children, and their partners.


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