Maternal relationship quality and peer social acceptance as mediators between child maltreatment and adolescent depressive symptoms: Gender differences

Michelle Alto, Elizabeth Handley, Fred Rogosch, Dante Cicchetti, Sheree Toth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Childhood maltreatment negatively impacts the development of maternal and peer relationships and may put adolescents at risk for depression. The present study examined gender differences in maternal relationship quality and peer social acceptance as mediators of the association between childhood maltreatment and adolescent depressive symptoms in 342 (151 female, 191 male) maltreated (n = 198) and nonmaltreated (n = 144) youth in the USA. An observer report Q-Scale measure of depressive symptoms was developed and received preliminary support. Social acceptance was a significant mediator for both genders. The significant association between maltreatment and maternal relationship quality was unique to females, and the association between maternal relationship quality and depressive symptoms was significantly stronger for females. Lower maternal relationship quality marginally significantly mediated the association between maltreatment and depressive symptoms for females only. Results have implications for the prevention and intervention of depression in adolescents with a history of childhood maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume63
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse ( DA12903 ), and the Spunk Fund, Inc. We wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of our expert Q-Set raters and our study participants, without whom this research would not have been possible.

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Gender
  • Maltreatment
  • Maternal relationship quality
  • Peer social acceptance

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