This study examined the role of parent depressive symptoms as a mediator of change in behaviorally observed positive and negative parenting in a preventive intervention program. The purpose of the program was to prevent child problem behaviors in families with a parent who has current or a history of major depressive disorder. One hundred eighty parents and one of their 9- to 15-year-old children served as participants and were randomly assigned to a family group cognitive-behavioral (FGCB) intervention or a written information (WI) comparison condition. At two months after baseline, parents in the FGCB condition had fewer depressive symptoms than those in the WI condition, and these symptoms served as a mediator for changes in negative, but not positive, parenting at 6 months after baseline. The findings indicate that parent depressive symptoms are important to consider in family interventions with a parent who has current or a history of depression.
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