This study examined the independent and interactive contributions of maternal depression and youth stress responses to trajectories of youth depression in adolescence. Youths (n = 165, M age = 12.43, SD = 1.18) and their maternal caregivers participated in a 4-year longitudinal study. Mothers and youths were administered diagnostic interviews assessing depression, and youths provided reports of their responses to peer stress. Consistent with an interactive model, adaptive responses to stress (high effortful engagement and low involuntary disengagement) buffered the effect of maternal depression on initial levels and trajectories of youth depression, with gender differences emerging. Consistent with a dual-risk model, maternal depression and maladaptive responses to stress (high effortful disengagement and involuntary engagement) contributed additive risks such that youths displayed the highest levels of depression when they were exposed to maternal depression and showed maladaptive stress responses. This research provides novel evidence that responses to stress contribute to individual differences in depression among offspring of depressed mothers, and suggests that responses to stress are an important target for efforts to promote resilience in at-risk youth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health