Stress is one candidate mechanism posited to contribute to the intergenerational risk of psychopathology. However, the ways in which parent and child stress are related across adolescence, and the role that co-occurring parent and child stress may exert regarding bidirectional risk for internalizing symptoms, are not well understood. Using repeated measures data spanning 3-years, this study investigated (1) the extent to which trajectories of parent and child stress are related during adolescence, and (2) whether co-occurring parent and child stress trajectories mediate prospective, bidirectional associations between parent depression symptoms and child internalizing symptoms (depression, physical and social anxiety). Participants included 618 parent-adolescent dyads (age 8-16; 57% girls; 89% mothers). Parent depressive symptoms and child symptoms of depression, social anxiety, and physical anxiety were assessed via self-report questionnaire at baseline and 36 months later. Parent and child stress were assessed via self-report questionnaire every three months between 3- and 33-months (11 total assessments). Latent growth curve model (LGCM) analysis found that parent and child stress trajectories were positively related across development. Prospective LGCM mediation analysis showed that higher youth stress at 3-months partially mediated prospective relations between parental depressive symptoms at baseline and youth depressive, as well as physical and social anxiety symptoms at 36-months. Parent and child stress reinforce each other across adolescence and may lead to increased risk for psychopathology. Increases in child stress represent an important factor conferring transdiagnostic risk for internalizing among children of depressed parents.
- Intergenerational risk
- Latent growth curve modeling
- Parent-adolescent relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology