Self-esteem reactivity and depression-proneness in mothers of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Gamble, Stephanie Ann
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Inconsistent findings have led many researchers to question the role self-esteem plays in the development of depressive symptoms. Recent studies suggest that self-esteem reactivity may be a relevant vulnerability factor for depression. The present study examined the relationship between depression-proneness and self-esteem reactivity in a sample of women at heightened risk for depression, and explored whether a group cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) for depression would reduce self-esteem reactivity and enhance trait level self-esteem for mothers of children with behavior problems. Participants included 51 mothers of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Each week for 35 weeks, participants completed measures of self-esteem, depressive symptoms, perceived stress, negative affect, positive affect, and child disruptive behavior. Results from Hierarchical Linear Modeling analyses indicate that mothers reported lower trait self-esteem during weeks that they experienced greater stress, lower positive affect, higher negative affect, and more depressive symptoms. Mothers who were more depression-prone reported marginally lower trait self-esteem, but did not evidence greater self-esteem reactivity than mothers who were less depression-prone. Treatment slightly affected trait self-esteem scores for mothers in the study, but did not alter participants' self-esteem reactivity. Once therapy was included in the models, depression-proneness and the interaction between treatment and depression-proneness emerged as significant predictors of self-esteem. Depression-prone mothers who received treatment reported higher trait self-esteem than depression-prone mothers in the waitlist group. Findings suggest that depression-prone mothers of children with ADHD do not have more reactive self-esteem than those who are less depression-prone, but may nevertheless benefit from group CBT.