Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2015

Thesis Advisor(s)

Stephanie Milan; James Dixon

Honors Major



There is a large body of research on the effects of maternal depression on child and adolescent outcomes. Although studies on depression are abundant, similar studies on maternal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are lacking. In this study, I examined the role of maternal PTSD on parenting and adolescent measures, controlling for comorbid depressive symptoms, using MANCOVA analysis. Participants included 194 low-income mother-adolescent dyads involved in a larger study on the cultural context of health disparities. The following outcome domains were examined: a) adolescent mental health (e.g., depression, PTSD); b) adolescent risk behavior (e.g., sexual risk-taking, substance use); and c) adolescent-parent relationship quality (e.g., maternal warmth and hostility, maternal preoccupation and dismissiveness). Overall, there were few differences between women with and without Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after controlling for maternal depressive symptoms. The one possible exception was risky sexual behavior, with adolescents in families with a mother with PTSD reporting greater sexual risk behavior. Implications of the study and future directions for research are discussed.