The family environment and developmental psychopathology: The unique and interactive effects of depression, attention, and conduct problems

Carrie George, Keith C. Herman, Rick Ostrander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Prior studies have found remarkable similarity in the family characteristics across a wide range of child psychopathologies. This study investigated the unique relationships between symptoms of depression, conduct problems/aggression, and inattention/hyperactivity and characteristics of the family environment. Parents and teachers completed multiple behavioral, emotional, and family measures to describe the characteristics of a community sample of 362 children. Results indicated that depression and conduct problems/aggression symptoms were uniquely associated with specific family environments. Both symptom clusters predicted family environments marked by less cohesiveness and intellectual/cultural pursuits and greater conflict. Depression alone was related to less expressiveness, independence, and activity, and to higher levels of control. Inattention/hyperactivity was not uniquely related to any aspect of family environment when controlling for depression and conduct/aggression problems, nor were combinations of symptoms. Findings are discussed with regard to implications for understanding clinical presentations, comorbidity, and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-177
Number of pages15
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

Keywords

  • Child depression
  • Comorbidity
  • Conduct problems
  • Family environment
  • Inattention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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