Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Marie Guerda Nicolas

Second Committee Member

Etiony Aldarondo

Third Committee Member

Nicholas Myers

Fourth Committee Member

Kristin Lindahl


It is well-established that parenting has a profound impact on children’s depressive symptoms and self-esteem (e.g., Endler & Parker, 1994; Hoffman, Levy-Shiff, Sohlberg, & Zarizki, 1992; Wolfradt, Hempel, & Miles, 2003). More specifically, parental authority and parental nurturance have been found to affect children’s functioning positively (i.e., high self-esteem and self-worth) and negatively (i.e., poor self-image and depressive symptoms; Bean, Bush, McKenry, & Wilson, 2003; Hopkins & Klein, 1994; Patcoch-Peckham & Morgan-Lopez, 2007; Wolfradt et al., 2003). However, such findings have been garnered through examination of almost exclusively White children and adolescent samples, suggesting that our understanding of these constructs within minority groups is less understood. In particular, Latinos are currently the largest minority group in the nation and suffer from higher rates of depression and low self-esteem than any other minority group (Lewinsohn, Rohde, & Seeley, 1994; Nolen-Hoeksema, Girgus, & Seligman, 1992; U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2011). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between maternal authority, maternal nurturance, depression, and self-esteem among Latino emerging adults (ages 18-30) and to examine potential moderating effects of coping in buffering such impact. This study investigated a sample of 90 Latino emerging adults that were administered the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), BRIEF COPE, Center for Epidemiological Studies – Depression Scale (CES-D), and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES). Multiple regression methods were applied in order to determine 1) the best predictor of depression and self-esteem: maternal authority or maternal nurturance; 2) whether coping moderated the relationship between maternal authority, depression and self-esteem, and 3) whether coping moderated the relationship between maternal nurturance, depression, and self-esteem. Results indicated that higher levels of maternal authority were positively associated with higher depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem. Higher levels of maternal nurturance were positively associated with higher self-esteem and lower depressive symptoms. Coping subscales, emotional support, instrumental support, planning, and positive reframe, did not moderate the relationship between maternal authority, depression, and self-esteem, but the coping subscales of emotional support, planning, and positive reframe did moderate the relationship between maternal nurturance and depression only. Implications for treatment and research are discussed as well as future directions to explore the complex relationship between maternal figures and their emerging adult offspring.


Parenting; Latinos; Emerging Adults; Depression; Self-Esteem