Links between paternal depressive symptoms, parental sensitivity and children's responsiveness: A study on Israeli children with feeding disorders Academic Article uri icon


  • This study examined mechanisms by which paternal depressive symptoms are related to children's responsiveness to their fathers and mothers among children with feeding disorders (FD). Participants included 28 children diagnosed with FD and their parents and 27 children and parents in non-FD families. Measures included paternal reports of depressive symptoms and videotaping of parents' sensitivity and children's responsiveness, as exhibited during play and feeding interactions. Analyses revealed that in both groups, paternal sensitivity mediated the link between paternal depressive symptoms and children's responsiveness to their fathers. However, crossover effects of paternal depressive symptoms on the mother-child relationship were evident only among the FD group. Specifically, paternal depressive symptoms were linked to lower maternal sensitivity, which in turn, was linked to children's reduced responsiveness to their mothers. The paper discusses the role of paternal depressive symptoms in the parent-child relationship, especially in families having children with FD, as well as different mediation processes for mothers and fathers.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011