Friday, October 19, 2012

Teens at Risk When Parents Have Certain Mental Illnesses

Teenagers whose parents have panic disorder and/or major depression are at risk for a range of mental disorders throughout their development, according to a report published October 3 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center examined rates of psychiatric disorders at 10-year-follow-up in four groups: adolescent offspring of parents with panic and depression, offspring of parents with panic but without depression, offspring of parents with depression alone, and offspring of  parents with neither disorder.

They found that parental panic disorder, independently of parental depression, predicted lifetime rates in offspring of multiple anxiety disorders, panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Parental depression independently predicted bipolar disorder, drug use, and disruptive behavior disorders.  They also found that together parental panic and depression interacted to predict specific phobias and major depressive disorder. Phobias were elevated in all at-risk groups, and depression was elevated in both offspring groups of parents with depression (with or without panic disorder).

For information about research on the neurobiology of depression in adolescents see Psychiatric News here. And this year American Psychiatric Publishing published the Concise Guide to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: 4th Edition.  

(Image: Lisa F. Young/


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.