We examined the prevalence of psychopathology in children of parents with recurrent major depression (n=61)and children of normal control parents (n=46).Rates of psychopathology in the children of depressed parents were consistently higher when compared either with the control children or with rates of disorder reported for nonclinically referred children from other studies. Forty-one percent of high-risk children met criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder compared with 15% of low-risk children. Significant differences between groups were found for affective disorders and attention deficit disorder, and a nonsignificant trend was noted for anxiety disorder, all of which were more prevalent in the children of depressed parents.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
American Psychiatric Association. (1980).Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Author.
Andreasen, N. C., Endicott, J., Spitzer, R. L., & Winokur, G. (1977). The family history method using diagnostic criteria.Archives of Geneal Psychiatry, 34, 1229–1235.
Anthony, E. J., & Ittleson, B. F. (1980, November).The effects of maternal depression on the infant. Paper presented at the Symposium on Infant Psychiatry III, San Francisco.
Barkley, R. A. (1981).Hyperactive children. New York: Guilford Press.
Beardslee, W. R., Bemporad, J., Keller, M. B., & Klerman, G. L. (1983). Children of parents with major affective disorder.American Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 825–832.
Beardslee, W. P., Klerman, G., Keller, M. B., Lavori, P. W., & Podorefsky, D. L. (1985). But are they cases? Validity of DSM-III major depression in children identified in a family study.American Journal of Psychiatry, 142, 687–691.
Biederman, J., Munir, C., Knee, D., Armentano, M., Autor, S., Waternaux, C., Tsaung, M. (1987). High rate of affective disorders in probands with attention deficit disorder and in their relatives: A controlled family study.American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 330–333.
Billings, A. G., & Moos, R. H. (1985). Children of parents with unipolar depression: A controlled 1-year follow-up.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 14, 149–166.
Cohler, B. J., Grunebaum, H. U., Weiss, J. L., Hartman, C. R., & Gallant, D. H. (1976). Child care attitudes and adaptation to the maternal role among mentally ill and well mothers.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 46, 123–133.
Cytryn, L., McKnew, D. H., Bartko, J. J., Lamour, M., & Hamovit, J. (1982). Offspring of patients with affective disorders.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 21, 389–391.
Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1981).Peabody Picture Vocabulary Scale-Revised manual. Circle Pines, Minnesota: American Guidance Service.
Edelbrock, C. S., & Achenbach, T. M., (1984). The teacher version of the Child Behavior Profile: I. Boys aged 6–11.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 207–217.
Endicott, J., & Spitzer, R. L. (1978). A diagnostic interview: The schedule of affective disorders and schizophrenia.Archieves of General Psychiatry, 35, 837–844.
Gamer, E., Gallant, D., Grunebaum, H., & Cohler, B. J. (1977). Children of psychotic mothers.Archives of General Psychiatry, 34, 592–597.
Gershon, E. S., Weissman, M. M., Guroff, J. J., Prusoff, B. A., & Leckman, J. F. (1986). Validation of criteria for major depression through controlled family study.Journal of Affective Disorders, 11, 125–131.
Hollingshead, A. B., & Redlich, F. C. (1958).Social class and mental illness. New York: Wiley.
Jacobson, S., Fasman, J., & DiMascio, A. (1975). Deprivation in the childhood of depressed women.Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 166, 5–14.
Kashani, J. H., Barbero, G. J., & Bolander, F. D. (1981). Depression in hospitalized pediatric patients.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 20, 123–134.
Kashani, J., & Simond, J. F., (1979). The incidence of depression in children.American Journal of Psychiatry, 136, 1203–1205.
Kovacs, M., Feiberg, T. L., Paulauskas, S., Finkelstein, R., Pollock, M., & Crouse-Novak, M. (1985). Initial coping responses and psychosocial characteristics of children with insulindependent diabetes mellitus.Journal of Pediatrics, 106, 827–834.
Kuyler, P. L., Rosenthal, L., Igel, G., Dunner, D. L., & Fieve, R. R. (1980). Psychopathology among children of manic depressive patients.Biological Psychiatry, 15, 589–597.
Munro, A. (1966). Some familial and social factors in depressive illness.British Journal of Psychiatry, 112, 429–441.
Neale, J. M., & Weintraub, S. (1975). Children vulnerable to psychopathology: The Stony Brook high-risk project.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 3, 95–113.
Orvaschel, H. (1983a). Maternal depression and child dysfunction: Children at risk. In B. Lahey & A Kazdin (Eds.).,Advances in clinical child psychology (Vol. 6, pp. 169–197). New York: Academic Press.
Orvaschel, H. (1983b). Parental depression and child psychopathology. In S. B. Guze, F. J. Earls, & J. E. Barrett (Eds.),Childhood psychopathology and development (pp. 53–66). New York: Raven Press.
Orvaschel, H. (1986). Psychiatric interviews suitable for use in research with children and adolescents.Psychopharmacology Bulletin, (Special Issue), 21, 737–745.
Orvaschel, H., Puig-Antich, J., Chambers, W., Tabrizi, M. A., & Johnson, R. (1982). Retrospective assessment of child depression with the Kidde-SADS-E.Journal of the American Academic of Child Psychiatry, 21, 392–397.
Orvaschel, H., Sholomskas, D., & Weissman, M. M. (1980).The assessment of psychopathology and behavioral problems in children: A review of scales suitable for epidemiological and clinical research (1967–79). (DHHS Publication No. ADM 80-1037). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Orvaschel, H., Thompson, W. D., Belanger, A., Prusoff, B. A., & Kidd, K. K. (1982). Comparison of the family history method to direct interview: Factors affecting the diagnosis of depression.Journal of Affective Disorders, 4, 45–59.
Orvaschel, H., Weissman, M. W., Kidd, K. K. (1980). Children and depression: The children of depressed patients, the childhood histories of depressed adults, and depression in children.Journal of Affective Disorders, 2, 1–16.
Orvaschel, H., Weissman, M. M., Padian, N., & Lowe, T. L. (1981). Assessing psychopathology in children of psychiatrically disturbed parents.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 20, 112–122.
Perris, C. (1966a). A study of bipolar (manic-depressive) and unipolar recurrent depressive psychosis. 2. Childhood environment and precipitating factors.Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 42, (Suppl. 194), 45–57.
Perris, C. (1966b). Genetic transmission of depressive psychosis.Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 42, 195–203.
Robins, L., Helzer, J., Weissman, M. M., Orvaschel, H., Gruenberg, E., Burke, J. D., & Reiger, D. (1984). Lifetime prevalence of specific psychiatric disorders in three sites.Archives of General Psychiatry, 41, 949–958.
Strober, M., Morrell, W., Burroughs, J., Lampert, C., Danforth, H., & Freeman, R. (in press). A family study of Bipolar I disorder in adolescents: Early onset of symptoms linked to increased familial loading and lithium resistance.Journal of Affective Disorders.
Weissman, M. M. (1987, March).Psychopathology in the children of depressed parents: Direct interview studies. Paper presented at the 77th Annual Meeting of the American Psychopathological Association, New York.
Weissman, M. M., & Klerman, G. L. (1977). Sex differences and the epidemiology of depression.Archives of General Psychiatry, 34, 98–111.
Weissman, M. M., Leckman, J. F., Merikangas, K. R., Gammon, G. D., & Prusoff, B. A. (1984). Depression and anxiety disorders in parents and children. Results from the Yale family study.Archives of General Psychiatry, 41, 845–852.
Weissman, M. M., Myers, J. K., Harding, P. (1978). Psychiatric disorders in a U.S. urban community: 1975–1976.American Journal of Psychiatry, 135, 459–462.
Weissman, M. M., Paykel, E. S., & Klerman, G. L. (1972). The depressed woman as a mother.Social Psychiatry, 7, 98–108.
Weissman, M. M., Prusoff, B. A., Gammon, G. D., Merikangas, K. R., Leckman, J. F., & Kidd, K. K. (1984). Psychopathology in the children (ages 6–18) of depressed and normal parents.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 23, 78–84.
This work was supported, in part, by a W. T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholar Award, No. 8308700.
About this article
Cite this article
Orvaschel, H., Walsh-Allis, G. & Ye, W. Psychopathology in children of parents with recurrent depression. J Abnorm Child Psychol 16, 17–28 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00910497
- Normal Control
- Psychiatric Disorder
- Anxiety Disorder
- Major Depression
- Affective Disorder