Whitt, Courtney L. (2015). Pubertal Maturation and Depressive Symptoms among Developing Young Women: Examining the Moderating Influence of Parent-daughter Relationship Quality.
Given the heightened incidence of depression among girls of pubertal age, this study sought to examine the interrelationships between pubertal advancement, the nature and stability of parent-daughter relationship quality, and depressive symptomology. Grounded in an Integrated Life Course model, and drawing upon diathesis-stress, stress-buffering, and family life cycle perspectives, an essential aim of this research was to identify risks and resources in the parent-daughter relationship that may actualize or attenuate the emergence of depressive symptomology in puberty. Study hypotheses were examined in a diverse, nationally representative sample of girls, ages 12 to 16, who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Measures of pubertal development status, parent relationship quality, and depressive symptomology were completed at two points separated by 12 months. Indices of change in pubertal development status and change in parental relationship quality were examined in relation to change in depressive symptoms. Contrary to study hypotheses, between-wave pubertal advancement was not associated with a concurrent increase in depressive symptomology. Neither baseline parent relationship quality nor relationship quality deterioration interacted with pubertal advancement to predict a rise in depressive symptoms as predicted. Findings are explored in the context of measurement limitations and extant research. Implications and directions for future research are also discussed
Whitt, Courtney L.
University of Miami