The link between mother and child’s obsessive-compulsive symptoms: A test of simple and serial mediation models in a healthy community sample

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Gabrielle Coppola, Alessandro Costantini, Marvita Goffredo, Domenico Vito Antonio Piazzolla, Cristina Semeraro, Rosalinda Cassibba, Maria Grazia Foschino Barbaro, Francesco Mancini (2020): The link between mother and child's obsessive-compulsive symptoms: A test of simple and serial mediation models in a healthy community sample. In: Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 25 , 2020.

Abstract

This study intends to build on current literature regarding the parental correlates of obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms among school-age children by addressing a gap related to the possible relations of parental OC symptoms, parenting stress and dysfunctional caregiving behaviors with the child's OC symptoms. The cross – sectional design involved 113 children (61 female; M age = 11.04 years, SD = 1.00) and their mothers (M age = 41.58 years, SD = 4.60), recruited through schools located in urban areas. Child-reported measures included OC symptoms and perceived mothers' caregiving behavior, while mother-reported measures included OC symptoms and parenting stress.

Simple and serial mediation models tested using the SPSS macro PROCESS (Hayes, 2013), supported the relation of the mother's OC symptoms with those of the child, through the simple indirect effect of parenting stress, rather than dysfunctional caregiving. Sequential effects from parenting stress on hostility/aggression and on indifference/neglect, linking indirectly the mother and child's OC symptoms, were also supported.

These findings add new information to our understanding of the parental correlates of OC symptoms in the child and have important clinical implications for the treatment of pediatric OCD, suggesting the potential to target not only children, but also their mothers.

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