A multiwave multi-informant study of the specificity of the association between parental and offspring psychiatric disorders.

Columbia University, New York, NY 10027-6902, USA.
Comprehensive Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.26). 05/2006; 47(3):169-77. DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2005.05.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The present study was conducted to investigate the specificity of the association between parental and offspring psychiatric disorders using epidemiological data from a series of parent and offspring interviews. A community-based sample of 593 mothers and their offspring from upstate New York were interviewed during the adolescence and early adulthood of the offspring. The children of parents with generalized anxiety disorder were at specifically elevated risk for anxiety disorders when co-occurring psychiatric disorders were controlled. The associations between parental and offspring antisocial, conduct, depressive, and substance use disorders were characterized by modest specificity. Children of parents with externalizing disorders were nearly as likely to develop internalizing disorders as they were to develop externalizing disorders. Children of parents with internalizing disorders were somewhat, but not significantly, more likely to develop internalizing disorders. These findings support the inference that children of parents with generalized anxiety disorder may be more likely to develop anxiety disorders than they are to develop other psychiatric disorders. However, when co-occurring psychiatric disorders are accounted for, the children of parents with depressive, disruptive, and substance use disorders may be as likely to develop other disorders as they are to develop the same type of disorder that their parents have had.

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