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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Lynn Beck

Second Committee Member

Justin Low

Third Committee Member

Amy Scott

Fourth Committee Member

Linda Webster


The current study investigated the importance of a father-adolescent relationship when a mother experiences depressive symptomatology. Specifically, does a sensitive father serve to buffer his adolescent's social-emotional well-being from the potential negative outcomes associated with maternal depression (e.g., depression, anxiety; Bureau, Easterbrooks, & Ruth-Lyons, 2009; Cummings et al. 2005; increased behavior problems and psychopathology; Garstein & Sheeber, 2004)? Secondary statistical analyses were ran on 498 families of adolescents using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care (SECC) longitudinal data set. Results indicate that having a sensitive father does moderate the relationship between a mother who has depressive symptoms and her adolescent daughter's depressive and anxious symptoms. An adolescent girl with a depressed mother will experience fewer anxious/depressed symptoms when she has a father high on sensitivity; however when her father is lower on sensitivity, she will experience more anxious depressed symptoms. The results were not significant for externalizing behavior, thus having a sensitive father did not serve as a buffer between maternal depression and adolescent externalizing symptoms.





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