Bidirectional influences between maternal depression and boys' and girls' externalizing behavior and the mediating role of inconsistent parenting
Previous research has indicated that maternal depression and externalizing behavior can contribute to and exacerbate one other. The current study examined a bidirectional model and found that maternal depression and externalizing behavior interacted reciprocally, such that maternal depression at Grade 5 predicted externalizing behavior at Grade 6, and externalizing behavior at Grade 4 predicted maternal depression at Grade 6. Additionally, the current study examined inconsistent discipline as a mediator for the reciprocal relationships between maternal depression and externalizing behavior. Findings suggest that inconsistent discipline at Grade 5 mediated the relationship between Grade 4 maternal depression and Grade 6 externalizing behavior, but not the reverse relationship. Clinical implications are discussed.