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Ethnic differences in relations between family process and child internalizing problems

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Background: 

Family process variables have been linked to child problem behavior, but recent research suggests that child ethnicity may moderate relations between family process and child outcomes. The current study examined how ethnicity moderates relations between parent conflict, parent–child relationship quality, and internalizing problems. Methods: 

A sample of 101 mother–child dyads was drawn from a larger longitudinal study of childhood-onset depression. Maternal reports of family process factors were used with child reports of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Results: 

The results indicated a moderating effect of ethnicity for multiple indicators of internalizing symptoms, such that child-rearing disagreement and low levels of mother–child openness were associated with internalizing problems only for European American (not African American) children. Conclusions: 

Findings suggest that ethnicity moderates the effects of family process factors on child psychopathology. Ethnic differences may be accounted for by the normativeness of family processes and the meaning that children of different ethnic backgrounds assign to these processes.
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Keywords: Ethnicity; anxiety; depression; family factors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Pittsburgh, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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