Academic journal article Journal of Family Studies

Interpersonal Stress and the Onset of Psychiatric Disorders among Daughters of Depressed Mothers

Academic journal article Journal of Family Studies

Interpersonal Stress and the Onset of Psychiatric Disorders among Daughters of Depressed Mothers

Article excerpt

Children of depressed parents suffer elevated risk for a range of negative outcomes in addition to depression, including other psychiatric disorders (e.g. anxiety disorders, substance abuse), as well as social and emotional disturbances. Little is known about the mechanisms by which this risk may be transmitted. Life stress has been conceptualized as a central mechanism in the aetiology and course of many psychiatric disorders, particularly major depression. At a follow-up assessment (T2) of adolescent daughters of depressed mothers and of never-depressed mothers, we assessed daughters' psychiatric status and stressful life experiences as well as mothers' depression history using structured diagnostic interviews (KSADS and SCID, respectively). All daughters had no history of psychiatric disorders at T1. Based on a diathesis stress model, we predicted that (1) daughters of depressed mothers would develop disorders, particularly depression, at higher rates than would daughters of never-depressed mothers; (2) daughters of depressed mothers would experience greater interpersonal stress (e.g. parent-child conflict) over the T1-T2 interval than would daughters of never-depressed mothers; and (3) increased levels of interpersonal stress during the T1-T2 interval would, in turn, predict the onset of psychiatric disorders at T2 among daughters of depressed mothers. …

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