Cognitive Vulnerabilities to Depression for Adolescents in Single-Mother and Two-Parent Families

Issar Daryanani, Jessica L. Hamilton, Brae Anne McArthur, Laurence Steinberg, Lyn Y. Abramson, Lauren B. Alloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Although research consistently suggests that adolescents in single-mother families are at increased risk for depression, the mechanisms that explain this relationship are unclear. In a community sample of adolescents (N = 368; ages 12–16; 50 % female; 50 % White) and their mothers (42 % single), adolescents completed measures of depressive symptoms, rumination, and depressogenic inferential style at baseline and two yearly follow-ups. Mothers reported on stressful events that occurred in the child’s life from birth until baseline. Adolescents raised by single mothers, relative to partnered mothers, experienced more childhood stressors and higher rumination levels at 1-year follow-up. Additionally, higher rumination mediated the relationship between single motherhood and greater youth depressive symptoms at the 2-year follow-up. Clinical implications and developmental considerations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-227
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Depressogenic inferential style
  • Rumination
  • Single mother


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