Journal Article

Parental internalizing problems in a community sample: association with child psychosocial problems

Willem Spijkers, Daniëlle E. M. C. Jansen and Sijmen A. Reijneveld

in The European Journal of Public Health

Published on behalf of European Journal of Public Health

Volume 24, issue 1, pages 11-15
Published in print February 2014 | ISSN: 1101-1262
Published online March 2013 | e-ISSN: 1464-360X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/ckt037
Parental internalizing problems in a community sample: association with child psychosocial problems

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Economics of Health
  • Health, Illness, and Medicine

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Background: Offspring of depressed, anxious and stressed parents are at increased risk of developing mental disorders. However, most studies investigating this association concentrate on clinical symptoms. The objective of this study is to examine the association between parental internalizing problems (symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress) and child psychosocial problems in a community sample, crude and adjusted for potential confounders (such as child gender, parental educational level, ethnicity) and whether parental concerns affect this association. Study Design: Preceding a routine health examination, cross-sectional data were obtained from a representative sample of 9453 parents of children aged 9–11 years (response 65%). Measures of parental internalizing problems (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale), child psychosocial problems (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire—Total Difficulties Score), background characteristics and parental concerns were completed by the parents. Results: Parental internalizing problems were associated with child psychosocial problems in crude analysis and after adjustment for child, parent and family characteristics [β = 0.12, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.10–0.14]. Parental concerns about their child’s emotional and behavioural problems were also strongly associated with child psychosocial problems. After adjustment for these parental concerns, the association of parental stress with child psychosocial problems remained, while the association of parental depression and anxiety symptoms with child psychosocial problems lost statistical significance. Conclusions: As in clinical samples, parental internalizing problems in a community sample are associated with child psychosocial problems. Parental concerns on the child seem to affect this association. Further research is needed on the mechanisms affecting this association.

Journal Article.  2915 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Economics of Health ; Health, Illness, and Medicine

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