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Keywords:

  • depressed mothers;
  • child behavior;
  • informants;
  • methodological issues

Abstract

Mothers with depressive symptoms more frequently report behavioral problems among their children than non-depressed mothers leading to a debate regarding the accuracy of depressed mothers as informants of children's behavior. The purpose of this integrative review was to identify methodological challenges in research related to the debate. Data were extracted from 43 articles (6 theoretical, 36 research reports, and 1 instrument scoring manual). The analysis focused on the methodologies considered when using depressed mothers as informants. Nine key themes were identified and I concluded that researchers should incorporate multiple informants, identify the characteristics of maternal depression, and incorporate advanced statistical methodology. The use of a conceptual framework to understand informant discrepancies within child behavior evaluations is suggested for future research. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 34:520–532, 2011