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Title: Parents with recurrent depression : heterogeneity in course, severity and symptoms as risks for offspring depression
Author: Mars, Becky
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 5329
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2013
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Depression is a significant global problem and is among the leading causes of disability worldwide. Depression in children and adolescents is associated with wide-ranging impairments and often marks the beginning of a lifelong, chronic illness. Early treatment and prevention of depression is therefore a major public health concern. Parental depression is one of the most consistently identified risk factors for depression in young people. Although depression is a highly heterogeneous disorder, most studies examining cross-generational depression risk have simply dichotomised parents into ‘depressed’ and ‘non-depressed’ groups and clinical characteristics beyond diagnostic status are rarely presented. In this thesis I examine how differences in clinical features of parental depression including variations in depression course, severity, timing and symptom manifestation differentially relate to offspring depression risk. Data were drawn from the Early Prediction of Adolescent Depression study. A three-wave longitudinal study of the offspring of 337 parents with a history of recurrent unipolar depression. Within this high risk group of offspring, specific clinical features of parental depression were identified that may serve as useful markers of current and/or future offspring depression risk. These included a recent episode of clinical depression, an episode involving severe impairment or hospitalisation and symptoms of appetite or weight loss. In addition, findings from this thesis highlight that there is considerable variability in the course of parent depression over time and suggest that any persistent symptoms of depression in parents, even those at low levels, may be clinically important in indexing offspring risk for depression symptoms. vi Findings highlight the importance of considering clinical characteristics of depression in parents beyond diagnostic status when examining cross-generational depression risk. The identification of subgroups of offspring who are at greatest risk can help ensure that clinical services and preventative interventions are targeted to those with greatest need.
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