Labored Love: Examining the Link Between Depression and Parenting Behaviors among Mothers
Theoretical perspectives suggest a strong link between maternal mental health and parenting, which may facilitate the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage from depressed mothers to their children. In this paper, I extend prior research by using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 3659). Pooled OLS and random-effects regression models document a strong link between maternal depression and the following parenting behaviors: neglect, psychological aggression, physical assault, and engagement. Fixed-effects models, however, show little evidence that changes in maternal depression are linked to changes in parenting behaviors, suggesting some negative consequences of depression are driven by variation across individuals or unobserved time-invariant characteristics. Further, the consequences of depression for parenting behaviors do not vary by mother’s marital status, suggesting that marriage may not be protective with respect to the parenting behaviors of depressed mothers.
Turney, Kristin. 2011. “Labored Love: Examining the Link Between Depression and Parenting Behaviors among Mothers.” Social Science Research 40:399–415.