Maternal control and adolescent depression: Ethnic differences among clinically referred girls

Jo Ann S. Finkelstein*, Geri R. Donenberg, Zoran Martinovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The relationship between perceived maternal control and depression was examined in 111 urban adolescent girls seeking psychological services at an outpatient mental health center in the Midwest. This study sought to clarify inconsistent findings in earlier research linking parental control and adolescent depression by examining urban girls with mental health problems and by testing ethnic background as a moderator of the general relationship. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires of adolescent girls' depressive symptoms, and perceptions of their mothers' parenting styles. Analyses did not detect a significant association between maternal control and depression in the combined sample of adolescent girls; however, findings were moderated by the ethnicity of the girls. Once ethnicity was included, no relation between control and depression was found for Caucasian and Latina girls, but high control was linked to less depression among African American girls. These findings highlight the importance of ethnicity and gender in child rearing and adolescent depression and stress the need for more culturally sensitive conceptualizations of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-171
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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