Longitudinal data for 63 inner-city African American and Puerto Rican adolescent mothers and their firstborn children were used to examine the relations among (a) level of maternal depressive symptoms reported in the first year postpartum and at 28 to 36 months postpartum, (b) mother-toddler conflict and contingent (reciprocal) responses observed in play interactions at 20 months, and (c) maternal reports of child problem behaviors at 28 to 36 months. The model that best predicted child problem behaviors was an additive one, reflecting the independent contributions of maternal depressive symptoms and maternal-child conflict. A lack of contingent responses occurred more frequently in the interactions of more symptomatic mothers with their toddlers. Although this was not associated with subsequent levels of child problem behaviors, the implications of this passive response strategy for the perpetuation of depression in families are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies