Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Intergenerational transmission of depression: A launch and grow model of change across adolescence

  • Judy Garber (a1) and David A. Cole (a1)

Abstract

The present study tested a “launch-and-grow” type of cascade model in which an earlier risk factor (e.g., exposure to maternal depression by age 12) was hypothesized to predict several risk processes during development (e.g., stress, family relationships, self-worth [SW]), which then set the course for the growth of children's depressive symptoms over time. Participants were 240 mothers and children (mean age = 11.87 years, SD = 0.57) who were evaluated annually across 6 years. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM diagnoses was used to assess mothers' psychiatric history; 185 mothers had had a mood disorder and 55 mothers were lifetime free of psychiatric diagnoses. At each assessment, mothers completed measures of their current level of depressive symptoms and stressful life events; adolescents completed measures about their perceptions of the family environment and their SW; and clinicians rated adolescents' level of depressive symptoms based on separate interviews with the adolescent and mother. Latent growth curve analyses revealed that history of maternal depression significantly predicted the intercepts of the growth trajectories of adolescents' depressive symptoms, mothers' current depressive symptoms, stressful life events, family environment, and adolescents' SW. The intercepts of each of these variables then predicted the trajectory (i.e., slope) of the growth of adolescents' depressive symptoms across the 6 years of the study. These results were consistent with the hypothesized model of maternal depression launching a set of risk factors, which in turn predict the growth of depressive symptoms during adolescence. Implications for interventions aimed at preventing depression in at-risk youth are discussed.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Judy Garber, Department of Psychology, 0552 Peabody, 230 Appleton Place, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203-5721; E-mail: judy.garber@vanderbilt.edu.

References

Hide All
Abela, J. R. Z., & Hankin, B. L. (2008). Cognitive vulnerability to depression in children and adolescents: A developmental perspective. In Abela, J. R. Z. & Hankin, B. L. (Eds.), Handbook of depression in children and adolescents (pp. 3578). New York: Guilford Press.
Adrian, C., & Hammen, C. L. (1993). Stress exposure and stress generation in children of depressed mothers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 354359.
Anderson, C. A., & Hammen, C. L. (1993). Psychosocial outcomes of children of unipolar depressed, bipolar, medically ill, and normal women: A longitudinal study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 61, 448454.
Ashman, S. B., & Dawson, G. (2002). Maternal depression, infant psychobiological development, and risk for depression. In Goodman, S. H. & Gotlib, I. H. (Eds.), Children of depressed parents: Mechanisms of risk and implications for treatment (pp. 3758). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Books.
Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61, 11731182.
Beardslee, W. R., Versage, E. M., & Gladstone, T. R. G. (1998). Children of affectively ill parents: A review of the past 10 years. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 37, 11341141.
Brennan, P. A., Hammen, C. L., Anderson, M. J., Bor, W., Najman, J. M., & Williams, G. M. (2000). Chronicity, severity, and timing of maternal depressive symptoms: Relationships with child outcomes at age five. Developmental Psychology, 36, 759766.
Brennan, P. A., Le Brocque, R., & Hammen, C. (2003). Maternal depression, parent–child relationships and resilient outcomes in adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 14691477.
Burt, K. B., Van Dulmen, M. H. M., Carlivati, J., Egeland, B., Sroufe, L. A., Forman, D. R., et al. (2005). Mediating links between maternal depression and offspring psychopathology: The importance of independent data. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 490499.
Campbell, S. B., Cohn, J., & Meyers, T. (1995). Depression in first-time mothers: Mother–infant interaction and depression chronicity. Developmental Psychology, 31, 349357.
Cicchetti, D., & Rogosch, F. A. (1996). Equifinality and multifinality in developmental psychopathology. Developmental Psychopathology, 8, 597600.
Cicchetti, D., Rogosch, F. A., & Toth, S. L. (1998). Maternal depressive disorder and contextual risk: Contributions to the development of attachment insecurity and behavior problems in toddlerhood. Developmental Psychopathology, 10, 283300.
Compas, B. E., Forehand, R., Keller, G., Champion, J. E., Reeslund, K. L., McKee, L., et al. (2009). Randomized clinical trial of a family cognitive–behavioral preventive intervention for children of depressed parents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77, 10071020.
Connell, A. M., & Goodman, S. H. (2002). The association between psychopathology in fathers versus mothers and children's internalizing and externalizing behavior problems: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 746773.
Davies, P. T., & Windle, M. (1997). Gender-specific pathways between maternal depressive symptoms, family discord, and adolescent adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 33, 657668.
DeMulder, E. K., Tarulla, L. B., Klimes-Dougan, B., & Free, K. (1995). Personality disorders of affectively ill mothers: links to maternal behavior. Journal of Personality Disorders, 9, 199212.
Derogatis, L. R. (1975). Brief Symptom Inventory. Baltimore, MD: Clinical Psychometric Research.
Derogatis, L. R. (1993). Brief symptom inventory: Administration, scoring, and procedures manual. Minneapolis, MN: National Computer Systems.
Derogatis, L. R., & Lazarus, L. (1994). SCL-90-R, Brief Symptom Inventory, and matching clinical rating scales. In Maruish, M. E. (Ed.), The use of psychological testing for treatment planning and outcome assessment (pp. 217248). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Derogatis, L. R., & Melisaratos, N. (1983). The Brief Symptom Inventory: An introductory report. Psychological Medicine, 13, 595605.
Eamon, M. K., & Zuehl, R. M. (2001). Maternal depression and physical punishment as mediators of the effect of poverty on socioemotional problems of children in single-mother families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71, 218226.
England, M. J., & Sim, l. J. (Eds.). (2009). Depression in parents, parenting, and children: Opportunities to improve identification, treatment, and prevention. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., & Lynskey, M. T. (2005). Maternal depressive symptoms and depressive symptoms in adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36, 11611178.
Ferrer, E., & McArdle, J. J. (2003). Alternative structural models for multivariate longitudinal data analysis. Structural Equation Modeling, 10, 493524.
First, M. B., Spitzer, R. L., Gibbon, M. L., & Williams, J. B. W. (1996). Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders—Nonpatient edition. New York: New York State Psychiatric Institute.
Garber, J. (2005). Depression and the family. In Hudson, J. L. & Rapee, R. M. (Eds.), Psychopathology and the Family (pp. 227283). Oxford: Elsevier.
Garber, J. (2007). Depression in youth: A developmental psychopathology perspective. In Masten, A. & Sroufe, A. (Eds.), Multilevel dynamics in developmental psychopathology: Pathways to the future (Vol. 34, pp. 181242). New York: Erlbaum.
Garber, J., & Robinson, N. S. (1997). Cognitive vulnerability in children at risk for depression. Cognition and Emotion, 11, 619635.
Ge, X., Conger, R. D., Lorenz, F. O., Shanahan, M., & Elder, G. H. (1995). Mutual influences in parents and adolescent psychological distress. Developmental Psychology, 31, 406419.
Goodman, S. H. (2007). Depression in mothers. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 3, 107135.
Goodman, S. H., & Gotlib, I. H. (1999). Risk for psychopathology in the children of depressed mothers: A developmental model for understanding mechanisms of transmission. Psychological Review, 106, 454490.
Goodman, S. H., & Tully, E. (2006). Depression in women who are mothers: An integrative model of risk for the development of psychopathology in their sons and daughters. In Keyes, C. L. M. & Goodman, S. H. (Eds.), Women and depression: A handbook for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences (pp. 241280). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gotlib, I. H., Joormann, J., Minor, K. L., & Cooney, R. E. (2006). Cognitive and biological functioning in children at risk for depression. In Canli, T. (Ed.), Biology of personality and individual differences (pp. 353382). New York: Guilford Press.
Grant, K.E., Compas, B. E., Stuhlmacher, A. F., Thurm, A. E., McMahon, S. D., Halpert, J. A. (2003). Stressors and child and adolescent psychopathology: Moving from markers to mechanisms of risk. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 447466.
Gunlicks, M. L., & Weissman, M. M. (2008). Change in child psychopathology with improvement in parental depression: A systematic review. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 47, 379389.
Hammen, C., Brennan, P. A., & Shih, J. H. (2004). Family discord and stress predictors of depression and other disorders in adolescent children of depressed and nondepressed women. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 9941002.
Hammen, C. L. (2002). Context of stress in families of children with depressed parents. In Goodman, S. H. & Gotlib, I. H. (Eds.), Children of depressed parents: Mechanisms of risk and implications for treatment (pp. 175202). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Hammen, C. L., Adrian, C., Gordon, D., Burge, D., Jaenicke, C., & Hiroto, D. (1987). Children of depressed mothers: Maternal strain and symptom predictors of dysfunction. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 96, 190198.
Hammen, C. L., & Brennan, P. A. (2003). Severity, chronicity, and timing of maternal depression and risk for adolescent offspring diagnoses in a community sample. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60, 253258.
Hammen, C. L., Shih, J., Altman, T., & Brennan, P. A. (2003). Interpersonal impairment and the prediction of depressive symptoms in adolescent children of depressed and nondepressed mothers. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 42, 571577.
Hammen, C. L., Shih, J. H., & Brennan, P. A. (2004). Intergenerational transmission of depression: Test of an interpersonal stress model in a community sample. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 511522.
Hankin, B. L., Abramson, L. Y., Moffitt, T. E., Silva, P. A., McGee, R., & Angell, K. E. (1998). Development of depression from preadolescence to young adulthood: Emerging gender differences in a 10-year longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 107, 128140.
Harrington, R. (1996). Family-genetic findings in child and adolescent depressive disorders. International Review of Psychiatry, 8, 355368.
Harter, S. (1982). The perceived competence scale for children. Child Development, 53, 8797.
Harter, S. (1985). Self-Perception Profile for Children: Revision of the Perceived Competence Scale for Children (manual). Denver, CO: University of Denver.
Hoge, R. D., Andrews, D. A., Faulkner, P., & Robinson, D. (1989). The Family Relationship Index: Validity data. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45, 897903.
Holahan, C. J., & Moos, R. H. (1983). The quality of social support: Measures of family and work relationships. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 22, 157162.
Hollingshead, A. B. (1975). Four Factor Index of Social Status. Unpublished manuscript, Yale University, Department of Sociology.
Jaenicke, C., Hammen, C. L., Zupan, B., Hiroto, D., Gordon, D., Adrian, C., et al. (1987). Cognitive vulnerability in children at risk for depression. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 15, 559572.
Jaffee, S. R., & Poulton, R. (2006). Reciprocal effects of mothers' depression and children's problem behaviors from middle childhood to early adolescence. In Huston, A. C. & Ripke, M. N. (Eds.), Developmental contexts in middle childhood: Bridges to adolescence and adulthood (pp. 107129). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Joormann, J., Eugene, F., & Gotlib, I. H. (2009). Parental depression: Impact on offspring and mechanisms underlying transmission of risk. In Nolen-Hoeksema, S. & Hilt, L. M. (2009), Handbook of depression in adolescents (pp. 441472). New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.
Kane, P. P., & Garber, J. (2004). The relation between fathers' depression and children's externalizing and internalizing symptoms and conflict: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 24, 339360.
Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593602.
Kessler, R. C., & Walters, E. E. (1998). Epidemiology of DSM-III-R major depression and minor depression among adolescents and young adults in the National Comorbidity Survey. Depression and Anxiety, 7, 314.
Kraemer, H. C., Kiernan, M., Essex, M., & Kupfer, D. J. (2008). How and why criteria defining moderators and mediators differ between the Baron & Kenny and MacArthur approaches. Health Psychology, 27, 101108.
Lakdawalla, Z., Hankin, B. L., & Mermelstein, R. (2007). Cognitive theories of depression in children and adolescents: A conceptual and quantitative review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 10, 124.
Lovejoy, M. C., Graczyk, P. A., O'Hare, E., & Neuman, G. (2000). Maternal depression and parenting behavior: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 20, 561592.
McCubbin, H. I., & Patterson, J. M. (1987). Family Inventory of Life Events and Changes. In McCubbin, H. I. & Patterson, J. M. (Eds.), Family assessment inventories for research and practice (pp. 80108). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
Moos, R. H., & Moos, B. S. (1986). Family Environment Scale manual (rev. ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychological Press.
Murray, C. J., & Lopez, A. D. (1996). The global burden of disease. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Murray, L., Woolgar, M., Cooper, P., & Hipwell, A. (2001). Cognitive vulnerability to depression in 5-year-old children of depressed mothers. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 42, 891899.
Nelson, D. R., Hammen, C., Brennan, P. A., & Ullman, J. B. (2003). The impact of maternal depression on adolescent adjustment: The role of expressed emotion. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 935944.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Girgus, J. (1994). The emergence of gender differences in depression during adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 424441.
Pettit, J. W., & Joiner, T. E. (2006). Chronic depression: Interpersonal sources, therapeutic solutions. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Pine, D. S., Cohen, E., Cohen, P., & Brook, J. (1999). Adolescent depressive symptoms as predictors of adult depression: Moodiness or mood disorder? American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 133135.
Poznanski, E., Mokros, H. B., Grossman, J., & Freeman, L. N. (1985). Diagnostic criteria in childhood depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 142, 11681173.
Radke-Yarrow, M., Belmont, B., Nottelman, E., & Bottomly, L. (1990). Young children's self-conceptions: Origins in the natural discourse of depressed and normal mothers and their children. In Cicchetti, D. & Beeghly, M. (Eds.), The self in transition: Infancy to childhood (pp. 345361). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Reinherz, H. Z., Giaconia, R. M., Hauf, A. M. C., Wasserman, M. S., & Silverman, A. B. (1999). Major depression in the transition to adulthood: Risks and impairments. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 500510.
Resnick, M. D., Bearman, P. S., Blum, W., Bauman, K. E., Harris, K. M., Jones, J., et al. (1997). Protecting adolescents from harm: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health. Journal of the American Medical Association, 278, 823832.
Rohde, P., Lewinsoh, P. M., & Seeley, J. R. (1991). Comorbidity of unipolar depression: II. Comorbidity with other mental disorders in adolescents and adults. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 214222.
Rudolph, K. (2009). Adolescent depression. In Gotlib, I. H. & Hammen, C. L. (Eds.), Handbook of depression (2nd ed., pp. 444466). New York: Guilford Press.
Sameroff, A. J. (1975). Early influences on development: Fact or fancy? Merrill–Palmer Quarterly, 21, 267294.
Seifer, R., Dickstein, S., Sameroff, A. J., Magee, K. D., & Hayden, L. C. (2001). Infant mental health and variability of parental depressive symptoms. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 13751382.
Serbin, L., & Karp, J. (2004). The intergenerational transfer of psychosocial risk: Mediators of vulnerability and resilience. Annual Review of Psychology, 55, 333363.
Sheeber, L., Hops, H., & Davis, B. (2001). Family processes in adolescent depression. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 4, 1935.
Spitzer, R. L., Williams, J. B. W., Gibbon, M., & First, M. B. (1990). User's guide for the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press.
Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., & Cabrera, N. 2002. Handbook of father involvement: Multidisciplinary perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Taylor, L., & Ingram, R. E. (1999). Cognitive reactivity and depressotypic information processing in children of depressed mothers. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 108, 202210.
Weissman, M. M., Warner, V., Wickramaratne, P., Moreau, D., & Olfson, M. (1997). Offspring of depressed patients: 10 years later. Archives of General Psychiatry, 54, 932940.
Weissman, M. M., Wickramaratne, P., Nomura, Y., Warner, V., Pilowsky, D., & Verdeli, H. (2006). Offspring of depressed parents: 20 years later. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 10011008.
Weissman, M. M., Wolk, S., Goldstein, R. B., Moreau, D., Adams, P., Greenwald, S., et al. (1999). Depressed adolescents grown up. Journal of the American Medical Association, 281, 17071713.

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed