Maternal depressive mood: the role of the father in preventing adolescent problem behaviors

Behav Res Ther. 1994 Mar;32(3):321-5. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(94)90129-5.


The current study examines the role of the father-adolescent relationship as a buffer for maternal depressive mood in a nonclinic young adolescent sample (n = 282). Internalizing and externalizing problems, as well as grade point average, were examined. Results indicated that, for all three variables, maternal depressive mood was associated with poorer functioning. Of most importance, for internalizing and externalizing problems, a good father-adolescent relationship served to buffer the adolescent from maternal depressed mood. This effect existed regardless of the gender of the adolescent or parental marital status. The findings suggest that behavior problems are associated with even mild levels of one family stressor, maternal depressive mood, and that these problems can be counteracted through an intrafamilial support system--the father. Implications for the behavior therapist are considered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Personality Development*
  • Personality Inventory