Social and Familial Determinants of Health: Mediating Effects of Caregiver Mental and Physical Health on Children's Mental Health
Children and Youth Services Review
Child welfare research suggests that a family's social support and stress levels impact both caregiver health and child well-being. Furthermore, studies indicate that caregiver mental and physical health affects the quality of caregiving practices, and may mediate the damaging effects of low social support and high family stress upon child mental health. Using a national sample of child welfare-involved children and their caregivers, this study examines whether caregiver mental and physical health mediates the impact of low social support and high family stress upon child mental health. Subjects were 3255 children and adolescents involved with Child Protective Services (CPS), from the second cohort of the National Survey on Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW II). Bivariate correlations and multiple regression analyses were used to examine the pathways between each predictor variable (i.e., low social support and high family stress), caregiver mental and physical health, and child internalizing and externalizing problems. A series of multiple regression analyses found that caregiver mental and physical health mediated the relationship between high family stress and increased child internalizing problems. In addition, caregiver mental health partially mediated the relationship between low social support and child internalizing and externalizing problems. Findings are discussed within the context of child welfare policy, practice, and future research.
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Quinn, A., Briggs, H.E., Miller, K.M., & Orellana, E.R. (2014). Social and Familial Determinants of Health: Mediating Effects Of Caregiver Physical And Mental Health On Children’s Mental Health. Children and Youth Services Review.