Academic journal article Journal of Psychosocial Research

Effect of Maternal Depression on Adolescents Self-Esteem and Academic Achievement

Academic journal article Journal of Psychosocial Research

Effect of Maternal Depression on Adolescents Self-Esteem and Academic Achievement

Article excerpt


Maternal depression is a multifaceted illness that has varying consequences for a women's mental health, her functioning as a mother, the family's functioning, and for her child's development. Children of depressed mothers can suffer lasting harm to their emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development. Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development. It is a period of multiple transitions involving education, training, employment and unemployment, as well as transitions from one living circumstance to another. Adolescence typically describes the years between ages 13 and 19 and can be considered the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood.

Self-esteem is considered as an important part of success. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs about oneself, (for example, "I am competent", "I am worthy"), as well as emotional states, such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame (Hewitt & John, 2009). In the mid-1960s, sociologist Morris Rosenberg defined self-esteem as a feeling of self-worth and developed the Rosenberg self-esteem scale (RSES), which became the most-widely used scale to measure self-esteem in the social sciences. The need for self-esteem plays an important role in psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which depicts self-esteem as one of the basic human motivations.

Academic achievement or (academic) performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Academic achievement in adolescence is a key determinant of future educational and occupational success. It is generally accepted that the quality of family interactions has important associations with children's and adolescents' academic motivation and achievement, and with young adults' eventual educational and occupational attainments.

Research in developing countries suggests that poor maternal mental health, in particular maternal depression, may be a risk factor for poor growth in young children (Rahman, Patel, Maselko, & Kirkwood, 2008). Two cross-sectional studies showed that adolescents with a depressed parent suffered from psychosocial maladjustment (Klein, Depue, & Slater, 1985) and experienced a significantly higher rate of affective disorder than adolescents of nonaffective psychiatric control parents (Lewinsohn, Hops, Roberts, Seeley, & Andrews, 1993).

Postpartum depression has been associated with a range of problems in infants' and young children's development. Associated outcomes include negative infant temperament, insecure attachment, cognitive and language development difficulties, lower self-esteem and other cognitive vulnerabilities to depression in five year olds, and poorer peer relations in early childhood. Maternal depression is considered a risk factor for the social-emotional and cognitive development of children (Cummings & Davies, 1994). Depressed mothers are less likely to offer contingent stimulation to their infants, and this disrupts their performance on nonsocial learning tasks (Dunham, Dunham, Hurshman, & Alexander, 1989).

In the early years of a child's life, parents have a significant influence on selfesteem and can be considered a main source of positive and negative experiences a child will have (Raboteg-Saric & Sakic, 2014). Unconditional love from parents helps a child develop a stable sense of being cared for and respected. These feelings translate into later effects on self-esteem as the child grows older (Olsen, Breckler, & Wiggins, 2008). Interestingly, numerous researchers have demonstrated that the best way to improve student achievement is to increase their self-esteem (Rubie, Townsend and Moore, 2004). Research has also documented that high self- esteem plays an important role in academic achievement, social and personal responsibility (Redenbach, 1991).

Rationale of the Study

Parenting is a very difficult and stressful job and though fathers make a significant contribution in parenting, mothers have the key responsibilities in caring for her children. …

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