Methods: Our analytic sample included 84 pairs of African-American adolescents and caregivers. Adolescent ages ranged from 11 to 16 years (M = 13.02, SD = 1.04) and 47% identified as female. All but two of the caregivers who completed the surveys were women and nearly all (86%) were the adolescents’ biological mother. Caregiver’s ages ranged from 26 to 71 (M = 39.21, SD = 8.69). Parental and adolescent depressive symptoms were measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for adults (CESD-R) and adolescents (CES-DC). Emotional regulation was measured using the parent-report Emotional Regulation Checklist.
Results: Haye’s (2018) PROCESS macro version three for SPSS (Model 4) was used with 5,000 bootstrapped samples to analyze our study aim. Results indicated that parental depressive symptoms predicted adolescents’ emotional regulation abilities (b = -.62, 95% CI: [-1.08, -.16]), and that adolescents' emotional regulation abilities significantly predicted adolescents’ depressive symptoms (b = -.09, 95% CI: [-.15, -.02]). The range of estimated values for the indirect effect of parental depressive symptoms on adolescents' depressive symptoms mediated by adolescents' emotional regulation did not include 0, indicating a significant mediation effect (b = .05, 95% CI: [0.0085, .12]).
Discussion: Depressive disorders are among the most common disorders that adolescents experience and research has established that these disorders can lead to major impairments and negative future outcomes. Thus, better understanding the factors related to African-American adolescents’ depressive symptoms is essential to ensure we are creating appropriate resources and interventions for African-American adolescents and their caregivers.