Objective: The association between maternal bonding style, offspring low self-esteem and offspring depression status was assessed by maternal depression status.
Subjects: Sixty mothers and 137 offspring were independently assessed over the course of a ten year follow-up study.
Method: Assessments included the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS-LA), Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Aged Children (K-SADS), the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory (CSEI) and the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI).
Results: Among daughters of mothers with a history of depression, maternal affectionless-control was associated with daughter low self-esteem which was associated with daughter depression at ten year follow-up. Among daughters of mothers without a history of depression, maternal affectionless-control was not associated with daughter low self-esteem, which was not associated with daughter depression at ten year follow-up but which was associated with a history of childhood depression. None of these associations were found to be significant among sons.
Limitations: As self-esteem was not measured at ten year follow-up, among offspring the stability of self-esteem could not be assessed, nor could the association between adult self-esteem and adult depression.
Conclusion: Clinical presentation of low self-esteem in girls should be assessed in the context of maternal depression status.