Review of Interventions for Parental Depression from Toddlerhood to Adolescence
Rhonda C. Boyd and Jane E. Gillham
Affiliation: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3535 Market Street, Suite 1230, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
Because of the recurrent course, significant burden, and intergenerational impact of depression, there is a great need for interventions for depressed parents and their children. This article reviews eight interventions that 1) aim to impact the functioning and well-being of 18-month to 18-year old children of depressed parents and 2) have been evaluated in controlled studies. The interventions are described and the empirical evidence of their efficacy is reviewed and critiqued. Existing research points to several promising intervention strategies, such as psychoeducation about parental depression, addressing parenting in adult depression treatment, promoting positive parent-child interactions, and teaching coping skills to children. Common limitations of the research in this area are small sample sizes, homogenous samples, and lack of replication. Implementation problems within the mental healthcare system are highlighted. Multi-component interventions seem to be a promising approach to address the complex impact parental depression has on children and the parent-child relationship. This review illustrates the need for more research on intervention models that can be implemented with children at various developmental levels.
Keywords: Parental depression, interventions, prevention, children
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