• Depressive mood in parents of children in care: Effects on visitation

      Osgood, Dorothy; DiBlasio, Frederick A. (1994)
      Many parents of children in substitute care live in stressful environmental conditions and have experienced stressful life events. Since both stressful environmental conditions and life events have been associated with depression, it is possible that many of these parents are depressed and their depression may affect the frequency of their visitation with their children in care. Also, research supports that parental visitation is the strongest predictor of family reunification. Therefore, this study looks specifically at the relationship between depression, a possible role strain reaction, and two measures of potential reunification: frequency of contact and level of compliance with the visitation plan. Parental depression was measured within the first three months of the child's placement in substitute care by the Beck Depression Inventory and Generalized Contentment Scale. Also measured at the same time was the parent-child relationship (Index of Parental Attitudes) as viewed by the parents. After the child had been in care for six months, case records were reviewed to collect relevant demographic data and the number of contacts that parents had with their children. Multivariate analysis of the data did not support a significant relationship between depression and frequency of contact nor between depression and the level of compliance. A correlation between parent-child relationship and the frequency of contact was not supported but a correlation between parent-child relationship and level of compliance was supported when those parents who totally complied with the visitation plan were compared to those parents who did not totally comply with the visitation plan. Other variables that correlated significantly with frequency of contact were: marital status and whether the parents had other children at home. The identification of race correlated significantly with level of compliance with the visitation plan.