Early-onset depression and the emotional and behavioral characteristics of offspring

Timothy J. Petersen, Jonathan E. Alpert, George I. Papakostas, Emily M. Bernstein, Rachel Freed, Megan M. Smith, Maurizio Fava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We compared the emotional and behavioral characteristics of offspring of parents with early-onset depression and the offspring of parents with late-onset depression. Forty-three parents who met criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD) completed the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist-Parent Report Version (CBCL) for a birth child (n = 43, age range 6-17 years). Parents were classified as having either early SD onset (< 19 years) or late-onset (≥ 19 years) MDD based on responses gathered during the SCID-P interview. Unpaired t-tests were used to compare the two offspring groups on CBCL clinical and competency scales. Chi-square analyses and unpaired t-tests were used to compare the two parent groups on demographic and clinical features. Offspring of parents with early-onset depression scored significantly higher on the majority of the CBCL clinical scale scores when compared with offspring of parents with late-onset depression, rated as exhibiting higher levels of the characteristics measured: withdrawn, anxious/depressed, social problems, thought problems, attention problems, delinquent behavior, and aggressive behavior. Additionally, this group had a significantly higher total T score (a global measure of psychopathology) and significantly lower social functioning. Children of parents with early-onset depression may be at higher risk for behavioral and emotional problems than offspring of parents with late-onset depression. This finding may be significant in uncovering sources of vulnerability and formulating intervention strategies offspring of depressed parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-108
Number of pages5
JournalDepression and Anxiety
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 7 2003
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Affective symptoms
  • Child behavior
  • Child of impaired parents
  • Depressive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Petersen, T. J., Alpert, J. E., Papakostas, G. I., Bernstein, E. M., Freed, R., Smith, M. M., & Fava, M. (2003). Early-onset depression and the emotional and behavioral characteristics of offspring. Depression and Anxiety, 18(2), 104-108. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.10118