Personality Predispositions to Depression in Children of Affectively-Ill Parents: The Buffering Role of Self-Esteem

John R.Z. Abela, Michael B. Fishman, Joseph R. Cohen, Jami F. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A major theory of personality predispositions to depression posits that individuals who possess high levels of self-criticism and/or dependency are vulnerable to developing depression following negative life events. The goal of the current study was to test this theory of personality predispositions and the self-esteem buffering hypothesis in a sample of youth using an idiographic approach, a high-risk sample, and a multiwave longitudinal design. One hundred forty children aged 6 to 14 completed measures of dependency, self-criticism, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms. Over the course of the following year, 8 follow-up assessments were conducted 6 weeks apart during which all children were administered measures assessing depressive symptoms and the occurrence of negative events. Results of hierarchical linear modeling analyses indicated that higher levels of dependency were associated with greater increases in depressive symptoms following negative events among children possessing low, but not high, self-esteem. In contrast, self-criticism was not associated with changes in depressive symptoms over time regardless of children's levels of stress and/or self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-401
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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