Convergence Among Multiple Methods of Measuring Positivity and Negativity in the Family Environment: Relation to Depression in Mothers and Their Children

Irene J Kim Park, Judy Garber, Jeffrey A. Ciesla, Bruce J Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


The present study addressed the following questions: (a) To what extent do different methods of measuring the family environment converge onto a single latent construct? (b) How are the constructs of positive and of negative family environment related? (c) Do the associations among various methods of measuring the family environment differ as a function of children's gender or of risk? and (d) How are the latent constructs of family environment related to depression in mothers and their children? Participants were 240 children (mean age = 11.86 years, SD = 0.57) and their mothers, who varied with regard to their history of depression. Family environment was measured with self-report questionnaires completed separately by mothers and by children, observations of mother-child interactions, and a 5-min speech sample of each mother talking about her child. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed that different methods for assessment of the family environment converged and that the constructs of positive and of negative family environments were significantly related to each other and to depression in both mothers and their children. These findings may help inform future intervention efforts by highlighting specific parenting dimensions that are strongly associated with maternal and with child depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-134
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008



  • adolescents
  • depression
  • family environment
  • multimethod assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Psychology(all)

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