Parental depressive symptoms: relationship to child development, parenting, health, and results on parent-reported screening tools.J Pediatr. 2009 Jul; 155(1):124-8.JPed
To determine whether parents with depressive symptoms can accurately complete parent-reported developmental screens, and to explore effects of parental depressive symptoms on perceptions of children's health and parenting behaviors.
A total of 382 parent-child (ages 0 to 2 years) dyads from pediatric sites across 17 U.S. states were evaluated with the directly administered and parent-reported Brigance Infant Toddler Screen, the Brigance Parent-Child Interactions Scale, a child development and health rating scale, and a caretaker depression screen. Groups were compared by parental status by depression screening.
Fifteen percent of parents had positive scores on screening for depression. Parents with a positive screen result for depression were twice as likely to rate their children as below average or average and to perceive health problems in their children. Their children were 1.7 times more likely to perform below Brigance Screen cutoffs. Parents with a positive screen result for depression were as accurate as parents with a negative screen result for depression in identifying delayed or average development but were significantly less likely to rate their above-average children as such and reported fewer positive parenting practices.
Parents with a positive depression screen result were as accurate in identifying developmental problems as parents with a negative depression screen result. Parental depressive symptoms are negatively associated with parenting behaviors, parental perspective on health and development, and child outcomes, which supports screening for depression and intervening promptly.