Impact of Depression and Childhood Trauma in Mothers Receiving Home Visitation

Robert T. Ammerman, Chad E. Shenk, Angelique R. Teeters, Jennie G. Noll, Frank W. Putnam, Judith B. van Ginkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Research has documented the deleterious effects of maternal depression and childhood trauma on parenting and child development. There are high rates of both depression and childhood trauma in new mothers participating in home visitation programs, a prevention approach designed to optimize mother and child outcomes. Little is known about the impacts of maternal depression and childhood trauma on parenting in the context of home visitation. This study contrasted depressed and non-depressed mothers enrolled in the first year of a home visitation program on parenting stress, quality of home environment, social network, and psychiatric symptoms. Mothers were young, low income, and predominantly unmarried. Results indicated that depressed mothers displayed impairments in parenting, smaller and less robust social networks, and increased psychiatric symptoms relative to their non-depressed counterparts. Path analyses for the full sample revealed a path linking childhood trauma, depression, and parenting stress. Path analyses by group revealed several differential relationships between dimensions of social network and parenting. Number of embedded networks, namely the number of different domains in which the mother is actively interacting with others, was associated with lowered parenting stress among non-depressed mothers and increased parenting stress in their depressed counterparts with childhood trauma histories. In depressed mothers, social network size was associated with lower levels of parenting stress but decreased quality of the home environment, whereas number of embedded networks was positively related to quality of the home environment. Implications of findings for home visitation programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-625
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of Depression and Childhood Trauma in Mothers Receiving Home Visitation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this