Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Roger R. Ries


This study used self-report measures of self-esteem, locus of control, and anxiety to contrast the thinking styles of depressed mothers and their children. The resulting profiles were then compared with those of a control group of non-depressed mothers and children in an effort to document differences on the dependent variable measures.;Mothers were admitted to the depressed group if they were currently in treatment for either major depression or dysthymia. Significant depressive symptoms also had to be documented in a self-report depression inventory. Mothers for the control group could have no history of depression or other significant psychiatric disorder.;Children in each group were admitted if they fell within the designated age range of 7-9 years. Exceptional children were excluded (i.e., children with documented mental retardation, learning disabilities, or serious emotional disturbance).;The final control group contained 30 mothers and children. The final case group contained 26 mothers and children. All adult participants completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Self-Esteem Inventory, and the Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Scale. The children in both groups completed the child versions of these same instruments.;The data analysis supported a number of the research hypotheses. Depressed mothers were significantly different from control mothers on all dependent variable measures. Control and case children differed significantly on self-esteem, but not on measures of locus of control or trait-anxiety. The self-esteem and trait-anxiety scores of control mothers and children were significantly correlated. There was a significant correlational relationship only on the self-esteem measure when depressed mother and child scores were compared.;It was concluded that self-esteem appeared to be the most significant dependent variable in discriminating between groups. The locus of control measure appeared to have the least statistical significance when within or between group comparisons were made.;Several possible reasons for group differences were discussed. It was concluded that the self-report method was a legitimate technique for measuring certain cognitive traits in young children.



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