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Title: Mothers with recurrent depression : co-occurring psychopathology and parenting as risks for offspring psychopathology
Author: Sellers, Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 7965
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2012
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Offspring of depressed mothers are at increased risk of developing a variety of psychopathologies. Risk factors and mechanisms for the development of these heterogeneous outcomes are poorly understood. Disruptions in the mother-child relationship may be one mechanism by which maternal depression increases risk for offspring psychopathology. Many adults with depression present with co-occurring psychopathology, but how these co-occurring problems affect offspring risk, or impact upon the mother-child relationship, has rarely been considered. Data were from the Early Prediction of Adolescent Depression study. Mothers with a history of recurrent major depressive disorder and their adolescent offspring were assessed three times between 2007 and 2011. Mothers completed questionnaires assessing their own depression severity and co-occurring psychopathology (anxiety, antisocial behaviour (ASB), and alcohol misuse). Offspring psychopathology (presence of psychiatric disorder, symptoms of depression, anxiety and disruptive behaviour disorder (DBD)) were assessed using the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment. The mother-child relationship was assessed using parent-rated questionnaires and an interviewer-rated speech sample. Co-occurring problems in mothers predicted new-onset psychiatric disorder in offspring; this remained significant after controlling for maternal depression severity. When investigating the specificity of risk for offspring, maternal co-occurring ASB was specifically associated with offspring DBD, whereas maternal depression severity predicted offspring depression. The mother-child relationship mediated the effect of maternal depression severity on risk for offspring psychopathology. However this was better accounted for by co-occurring maternal ASB, which predicted both maternal warmth and hostility. Maternal hostility was a specific risk factor for offspring DBD. Bidirectional effects were observed between offspring DBD and maternal hostility. Findings highlight the importance of assessing co-occurring psychopathology in mothers with recurrent depression when considering risk for offspring. Parenting interventions that reduce hostility may be beneficial for preventing or reducing adolescent DBD, particularly when depressed mothers report additional ASB. Furthermore, interventions that reduce offspring DBD may also show benefits for the mother-child relationship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry