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Children of mothers who have recurrent depression in addition to anxiety, antisocial behaviour or problem alcohol use, are at increased risk of developing a new psychiatric condition

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Question: In mothers with recurrent depression, do comorbid psychiatric conditions predict new-onset psychiatric disorders in the offspring?

People: 337 parents (315 mothers and 22 fathers) with a history of two or more episodes of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) major depression, and their 337 children (58% female; age 9–17 years). Exclusion criteria: any parental diagnosis of bipolar disorder; the child not living at home or not biologically related to the parent; or if the child had moderate-to-severe intellectual impairment (IQ<50). Further exclusion of fathers (n=22), children with a psychiatric disorder at baseline (n=73), mothers with incomplete baseline data (n=17) and parental diagnosis of bipolar disorder during follow-up (n=2) gave a final eligible baseline sample of 223 mothers and their children.

Setting: Participants were recruited to the Early Prediction of Adolescent Depression (EPAD) study predominately from general practices in South Wales, UK.

Risk factors: Baseline maternal DSM-IV major depression, assessed using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry. Baseline …

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  • Sources of funding: Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, Waterloo Foundation.


  • Competing interests None.