The longitudinal relations between depression and parenting self-efficacy in rural mothers with low incomes

Doudna, Kimberly
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This thesis examined depression and parenting self-efficacy in context with individual and family variables, in two different studies. Data were aggregated from a multi-state, longitudinal research project that examined the effects of the 1996 welfare reform on the functioning and well-being of rural families with low household incomes. Both studies used path analysis to determine the relations between variables, and test for moderation effects. The first study examined relations between food insecurity, depression, parenting self-efficacy and perceived parenting support, with knowledge of community resources acting as a moderator. The second study examined relations between depression, parenting self-efficacy and family functioning, with financial pressure as a moderator. The results showed that depression and food insecurity predict each other over time, and that depression negatively affects parenting self-efficacy, perceived parenting support, and family functioning. Knowledge of community resources and financial pressure were found to be moderators of specific paths in the models. These results suggest that rural families with low income, especially those who experience financial pressure, would benefit from mental health services that address maternal depression within the context of the family. Additionally, since depression and food insecurity are linked, mental health professionals should consider making families aware of food assistance programs for which they may qualify, and food assistance program personnel may consider partnering with mental health professionals.

depression, family, food insecurity, low income, parenting, rural