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Several theoretical perspectives suggest that knowledge of children’s perceptions of and beliefs about their parents’ depression may be critical for understanding its impact on children. This paper describes the development and preliminary evidence for the psychometric properties of a new measure, the Children’s Perceptions of Others’ Depression – Mother Version (CPOD-MV), which assesses theoretically- and empirically driven constructs related to children’s understanding and beliefs about their mothers’ depression. These constructs include children’s perceptions of the severity, chronicity, and impairing nature of their mothers’ depression; self-blame for their mother’s depression; and beliefs about their abilities to deal with their mother's depression by personally coping or alleviating the mother’s depression. The CPOD-MV underwent two stages of development. First: (1) a review of the literature to identify the key constructs; (2) focus groups to help generate items; and (3) clinicians’ ratings on the relevance and comprehensibility of the drafted items. Second was a study of the measure’s psychometric properties. The literature review, focus groups, and item reduction techniques yielded a 21-item measure. Reliability, factor structure, and discriminant, convergent and concurrent validity were tested in a sample of 91 10- to17- year-old children whose mothers had been treated for depression. The scale had good internal consistency, factor structure suggestive of a single construct, discriminant, concurrent, convergent, and incremental validity, suggesting the importance of measuring children’s perceptions of their mothers’ depression, beyond knowledge of mothers’ depression symptom level, when explaining which children have the greatest risk for emotional and behavioral problems among children of depressed mothers. These findings support continued development and beginning clinical applications of the scale.


This article was originally published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Copyright © 2011 American Psychological Association.

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