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Keywords:

  • child depressive symptoms;
  • discipline;
  • emotional support;
  • parenting;
  • race/ethnicity;
  • spanking

Abstract: Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth—Mother and Child samples, we explored the relationships among child and adolescent depressive symptoms, spanking, and emotional support offered to youth. We present cross-sectional and change models for both African Americans and European Americans. Findings showed that regardless of race, spanking is associated with more depressive symptoms in the cross-sectional analysis but does not appear to maintain this relationship over time. With regard to emotional support, depressive symptoms for African American youth are inversely related to the emotional support their mothers provide for them in cross-sectional models, but the benefit does not persist in our change models. For European American children and adolescents, emotional support is associated with fewer depressive symptoms in the short term and over time.