Background: There is a burgeoning and varied literature examining the associations between parental factors and depression or anxiety disorders in young people. However, there is hitherto no systematic review of this complex literature with a focus on the 12-18 years age range, when the first onset for these disorders peaks. Furthermore, to facilitate the application of the evidence in prevention, a focus on modifiable factors is required.
Methods: Employing the PRISMA method, we conducted a systematic review of parental factors associated with depression and anxiety disorders in young people which parents can potentially modify.
Results: We identified 181 articles altogether, with 140 examining depression, 17 examining anxiety problems, and 24 examining both outcomes. Stouffer's method of combining p values was used to determine whether associations between variables were reliable, and meta-analyses were conducted to estimate the mean effect sizes of associations between each parental factor and outcome.
Limitations: Limitations include sacrificing micro-level detail for a macro-level synthesis of the literature, not systematically reviewing moderators and mediators, the lack of generalizability across cultures and to younger or adult children, and the inability to conduct a meta-analysis on all included studies.
Conclusions: Parental factors with a sound evidence base indicating increased risk for both depression and anxiety include less warmth, more inter-parental conflict, over-involvement, and aversiveness; and for depression additionally, they include less autonomy granting and monitoring.
Keywords: Adolescent; Mental disorders; Parenting; Systematic review.
© 2013 Published by Elsevier B.V.