This study examines the role of paternal emotional support as a resilience promoter in offspring of mothers with depression by considering the role of fathers’ mental health and the quality of the couple relationship. Two hundred and sixty-five mothers with recurrent unipolar depression, partners and adolescents from Wales were assessed. Paternal emotional support, couple relationship quality, and paternal depression were assessed at baseline; adolescent mental health symptoms were assessed using the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment at follow-up. Results showed evidence of an indirect pathway whereby couple relationship quality predicted paternal emotional support (β=-.21, 95% CI [-.34, -.08]; p=.002) which in turn predicted adolescent depression (β=-.18, 95% CI [-.33, -.04]; p=.02), but not disruptive behaviours (β=-.10, 95% CI [-.26, .40]; p=.21), after controlling for relevant confounders. The findings highlight that fathers and the broader family system play an important role in enhancing resilience to depression symptoms in at-risk adolescents.
- Maternal depression
- Emotional support