This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring the Impact of Depression on Caregiver-Report of Child Behavior in a Court Ordered Sample




Richey, Lindsay

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Psychological Sciences


The current study analyzed evidence for a possible depression-abuse distortion in maternal perception of child problematic behavior within a sample of court ordered families. Pre-treatment parent-child behavioral observation data on the Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System (DPICS) and pre-treatment parent ratings on the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC) were used to address a potential maternal distortion with respect to perceived child behavior problems. We hypothesized that depression would moderate the relationship between the parental report of child problematic behaviors on the BASC and the number of negative child behaviors observed through the DPICS observation for biological mothers. Results indicated that depression did not moderate this relationship between parental report and clinician observed problematic child behaviors for mothers; however, it did moderate the relationship when analyses were expanded to include other caregivers (e.g., biological fathers as well as stepparents and grandparents). Specifically, at higher levels of depression, there was greater inconsistency across caregiver report and clinician observed problematic child behavior. Future research should include paternal caregivers, as well as nonbiological caregivers, when exploring the impact of depression on caregiver’s perception of child behavior.