Maternal Depression and Children’s Cognitive Achievement during Elementary School: The Role of Maternal Education and School Involvement

Jennifer M. Augustine, University of Texas at Austin

As the effects of family structure and socioeconomic disadvantage on children’s cognitive achievement continue to be examined, maternal depression has emerged as a significant mediating factor. The linkage between maternal depression and children’s well-being is often explained in terms of home-based parenting practices. In this study, I go beyond an exploration of maternal depression and home-based parenting practices by looking at parenting practices employed outside the home—namely, mothers’ involvement in school. As a first step in this study, I use latent growth curve modeling to understand the dynamic relationship between mothers’ depression, mothers’ involvement in children’s schooling, and children’s cognitive achievement across the elementary school years. As a second step, I look for factors that buffer the negative effect of maternal depression, focusing on maternal education. I focus on education because of its association with resources, (e.g. social networks, cognitive skills) that promote children’s achievement, net of other constraints.

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Presented in Poster Session 5