Perceived Parenting, Self-Esteem, and Depressive Symptoms in Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Adolescents in Italy: A Multigroup Path Analysis

Author(s): Diana MICONI ; Ughetta MOSCARDINO ; Lucia RONCONI ; Gianmarco ALTOÈ


Previous research has shown that a warm and caring parental style is associated with better psychological adjustment in adolescents from diverse cultural contexts. Yet, the differential role of mothers and fathers in adolescents’ depressive symptoms is still understudied, especially among immigrant populations. This study examined the relationship between perceived care from both mother and father and depressive symptoms among adolescents with and without a migration background, postulating mediation by self-esteem. Participants were 686 first-generation immigrant (44 % girls) and 1295 non-immigrant (46 % girls) Italian adolescents aged 14–20 years, who completed a questionnaire survey. Multigroup path analyses controlling for age, gender, and SES showed that (a) perceived maternal and paternal care and self-esteem were negatively related to depressive symptoms in both groups; (b) self-esteem mediated the link between perceived parenting and youth depressive symptoms in both groups; (c) the direct and indirect effects were invariant across the two groups. Results suggest that involved fathers, just as much as mothers, contribute to adolescents’ positive adjustment irrespective of immigrant status. Interventions may focus on the enhancement of self-esteem as well as the perceived quality of attachment to both mother and father, shifting away from risk models towards more positive youth development models.


Adolescents, Immigration, Depressive symptoms, Self-esteem, Parental care

Tags: Italy, Adolescents, Children, First generation, Parents, Parenting, Depression, Self-esteem, Immigrants

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