Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Psychology

Sub-Department

Clinical-Community Psychology

First Advisor

Benjamin L Hankin

Abstract

As the children of depressed mothers are at an increased risk for developing depression themselves, it is important to investigate the different ways in which this risk may be transferred from mothers to offspring. While one theory (Goodman & Gotlib, 1999) has proposed stress as a mediator of the relation between maternal depression and adolescent depression, few studies have directly tested this relation, and many have examined stress as a moderator of the relation instead. Given that no research has directly compared mediation and moderation in this way, this study aims to clarify this relation by examining adolescent stressors as both a mediator and moderator of the relation between maternal and adolescent depressive diagnoses in a sample of 214 adolescents. Results of mediation analyses were not significant and overall model fit indices indicate that mediation provided a poor fit to the data; however moderation analyses examining both total number and total objective threat stress ratings were significant in predicting the onset of adolescent depression. Implications of this interaction and future directions for research are discussed.

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