Associations among mother-child communication quality, childhood maladaptive grief, and depressive symptoms.
adaptation, psychological, adolescent, child, preschool, depression, female, grief, humans, male, mother-child relations, mothers, parental death
Mother-child communication may be an important factor in determining children's grief reactions following the death of the father. Using observational methods, the current study suggests that mothers' warm, sensitive, and engaged communication is associated with lower levels of maladaptive grief and depressive symptoms in children whose fathers have recently died. Further, mothers who showed a blunted emotional response to the loss, illustrated by unusually few depressive symptoms, were less effective at using these strategies than mothers with a more "normative" reaction. Findings suggest that mother-child communication may be an important intervention target for bereaved families.