Sijtsema J.J., Oldehinkel A.J., Veenstra R., Verhulst F.C., Ormel J. › Trails


Effects of Structural and Dynamic Family Characteristics on the Development of Depressive and Aggressive Problems during Adolescence. The TRAILS Study

Authors: Sijtsema J.J., Oldehinkel A.J., Veenstra R., Verhulst F.C., Ormel J.

Both structural (i.e., SES, familial psychopathology, family composition) and dynamic (i.e., parental warmth and rejection) family characteristics have been associated with aggressive and depressive problem development. However, it is unclear to what extent (changes in) dynamic family characteristics have an independent effect on problem development while accounting for stable family characteristics and comorbid problem development. This issue was addressed by studying problem development in a large community sample (N = 2,230; age 10-20) of adolescents using Linear Mixed models. Paternal and maternal warmth and rejection were assessed via the Egna Minnen Beträffande Uppfostran for Children (EMBU-C). Aggressive and depressive problems were assessed via subscales of the Youth/Adult Self-Report. Results showed that dynamic family characteristics independently affected the development of aggressive problems. Moreover, maternal rejection in preadolescence and increases in paternal rejection were associated with aggressive problems, whereas decreases in maternal rejection were associated with decreases in depressive problems over time. Paternal and maternal warmth in preadolescence was associated with fewer depressive problems during adolescence. Moreover, increases in paternal warmth were associated with fewer depressive problems over time. Aggressive problems were a stable predictor of depressive problems over time. Finally, those who increased in depressive problems became more aggressive during adolescence, whereas those who decreased in depressive problems became also less aggressive. Besides the effect of comorbid problems, problem development is to a large extent due to dynamic family characteristics, and in particular to changes in parental rejection, which leaves much room for parenting-based interventions.

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