Graduate Studies


First Advisor

Natalie Williams

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Child, Youth & Family Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor Natalie Williams. Lincoln, Nebraska : August, 2019

Copyright 2019 Zhenqiao Yang


This study investigated the mediating role of parenting self-efficacy (PSE) in the association between parental depressive symptoms and 3-8-year-old children’s social and emotional competence. Participants were 250 Chinese parents recruited from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and near-by cities in the eastern coastal region of mainland China. Results revealed a significant indirect effect of parental depression on young children’s social and emotional competence through PSE, indicating that PSE serves as a mediator between parental depression and children’s social and emotional competence. Tests of moderated mediation revealed that the mediation did not differ for mothers and fathers. Results indicate that PSE is a mechanism in explaining the influence of parental depression on children developmental outcomes in a Chinese sample. Future replications of the mediation effect of PSE is needed. Results implicate that future interventions can potentially include parenting coaching or parenting education that improves PSE in Chinese parentsaffected by depression in order to help with healthy development in social and emotional competence in young children.

Advisor: Natalie Williams