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Relatively little is known about the effects on children of depressed mothers and fathers in this article through a series of investigations Dr Jacobs shows the substantial impact of parental depression on children Dr Jacobs goes on to prove and explain that children of depressed parents display emotional and somatic symptomatology increased behavioral impairments social problems and more school problems than do children of nondepressed parents The participants for this study were recruited in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania as part of a broader study of family interaction among alcoholic and depressed families All the participants were recruited through newspaper advertisements specifying that a research study at the University of Pittsburgh was seeking families with children in which either the mother or the father was experiencing depression All the participants that satisfied the selection criteria were subjected to complete an extensive three week assessment which included several laboratory interviews interaction tasks questionnaires and home observations Families were paid an average of 400 for completing these tasks Overall maternal depression alone accounted for much of the child outcome variance and mother child communications variables did not appear to moderate the impact of maternal depression on child outcome By contrast both paternal depression and father-child communication appeared to influence the child outcome In examining child depression the research found substantial evidence that paternal communication served as a moderator of the risk associated with paternal depression As expected Families with a depressed parent showed decreased positively and congeniality compared with families without a depressed parent Their study included only families with no separation over a 5-year period Finally Dr Jacobs stressed that it was essential to provide further understanding of how parental depression is linked with risk for depression among children
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