Depressed mood and marital conflict: Relations to maternal and paternal intrusiveness with one-year-old infants

Nancy L. McElwain, Brenda L. Volling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examined how depressed mood and marital conflict affect mothers' and fathers' intrusive behavior with their infants, and how the relationships among these variables differ by interactive context. Sixty-two families with 12-month-old infants (31 girls) participated. Mothers and fathers were each observed with their infant in a 15-minute free-play session and an open-ended teaching task session. Parents also completed self-reports of depressed mood and marital conflict. Regression analyses revealed that mothers' appraisal of marital conflict mediated the effect that their depressed mood had on their intrusive parenting during the teaching task. In contrast, depressed mood was directly related to less intrusiveness for both mothers and fathers in the free-play session. Differences in how depressed mood and marital conflict affect parenting behavior of mothers and fathers are discussed, and the role of context in better understanding how depressed mood and marital conflict impact parents of infants is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-83
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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