Depression linked to mom's mental games

Nov. 27, 2008 at 11:02 PM
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CHICAGO, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Girls whose mothers made them feel guilty or who withdraw expressions of love reported much higher levels of depressive symptoms, U.S. researchers said.

Jelani Mandara and Crystal L. Pikes examined 152 African-American students in the ninth through 12th grade at a high school in a large Midwestern city. The sample consisted of 102 females and 50 males. Researchers assessed the degree to which maternal psychological control -- mental games such as making children feel guilty -- had an effect on depressive symptoms.

"The key for practitioners will be to impress upon parents the need to find a balance between psychological autonomy and behavioral regulation at each stage of their children's development," Mandara and Pikes said in a statement.

Psychological control did not affect the psychological well-being of boys, the researchers said.

The study is to be published in the December issue of Family Relations.

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