By Mark Cowen, medwireNews Reporter
Children with a parental history of bipolar disorder (BD) or major depressive disorder (MDD) are at increased risk for any mood or anxiety disorder, research shows.
The team also found that children with a parental history of BD were more likely to develop recurrent MDD than the children of parents with MDD and those of mentally healthy parents.
Writing in Bipolar Disorders, Caroline Vandeleur (University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland) and co-authors comment: "These findings provide unique information on the broad manifestations of parental mood disorders in their offspring."
They add that the "increased risk of recurrent MDD in the offspring of parents with BD compared to those of controls suggests that the episodicity characterizing BD may emerge in childhood and adolescence."
The researchers studied a total of 376 children, aged 6.0-17.9 years, of whom 139 had a parental history of BD (72 parents), 110 had a parental history of MDD (56 parents), and 127 (controls) had mentally healthy parents.
All of the children were assessed for the presence of mental health conditions using the modified version of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children-Epidemiologic version.
There were no significant differences in the age or gender of children according to parental diagnostic status.
Overall, rates of any mood or anxiety disorder were greater in children with a parental history of BD, at 34.5% and 42.5%, respectively, or MDD, at 25.5% and 44.6%, respectively, than in controls, at 12.6% and 22.8%, respectively.
The researchers also found that children with a parental history of BD were more likely to have recurrent MDD, at 7.9%, than children with a parental history of MDD, at 3.6%, and controls, at 1.6%.
Furthermore, children with a parental history of BD in both parents were more likely to have any mood disorder, at 64.3%, than those with a parental history of BD in one parent, at 27.2%.
Vandeleur et al conclude: "Longitudinal studies that follow high-risk young people through adolescence and early adulthood are necessary to determine the extent to which early manifestations of mood and anxiety disorders are indeed predictors of adult BD and MDD and to identify genetic, biological, and environmental determinants of mood and non-mood disorders that persist into adulthood."
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