The remarriage of a parent is a major event experienced by many children. Its role in children's depressive symptoms was examined in a follow-up study of a cohort from the age of 16 to 22 years.
The study population consisted of young people who had experienced parental divorce in childhood (N=356). Associations between a parent's remarriage and potential modifying factors in adolescence (atmosphere at home, school performance, dating behavior, life-events, the importance of siblings, and socioeconomic status) and depressive symptoms at 22 years of age were studied.
A poor atmosphere at home at 16 years and father's remarriage (but not mother's) in childhood were associated with subsequent depression. Girls whose father had not remarried, but boys whose father had remarried, were more depressive than others. Dating behavior in adolescence modified proneness to depression in these groups.
The findings indicate the importance of the father in adolescent development after divorce and that the processes involved may differ by gender.