Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-2qt69 Total loading time: 0.283 Render date: 2022-08-09T22:14:06.151Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Parental death in childhood and risk of adult depressive disorders: a review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2009

Christopher Tennant*
Affiliation:
MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London
Paul Bebbington
Affiliation:
MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London
Jane Hurry
Affiliation:
MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, London
*
1Address for correspondence: Dr Christopher Tennant, MRC Social Psychiatry Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF.

Synopsis

The authors review the evidence that parental death in childhood predisposes to depressive disorders in later life. The findings in general are quite inconsistent; this is due in part to the methodological limitations of most studies, principally that of inadequate control of potentially confounding variables. Where experimental and control samples were most rigorously matched, no association was found between childhood parental bereavement and depression in later life. Parental death in childhood appears to have little effect on adult depressive morbidity.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1980

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Abraham, K. (1927). Notes on the psychoanalytic investigation and treatment of manic-depressive insanity and allied conditions. In Selected Papers on Psycho-Analysis Hogarth: London.Google Scholar
Archibald, H. C., Bell, D., Miller, C. & Tuddenham, R. D. (1962). Bereavement in childhood and adult psychiatric disturbance. Psychosomatic Medicine 24, 343351.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Barry, H. & Lindemann, E. (1960). Critical ages for maternal bereavement in psychoneuroses. Psychosomatic Medicine 22, 166181.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Beck, A. T., Sethi, B. B. & Tuthill, R. W. (1963). Childhood bereavement and adult depression. Archives of General Psychiatry 9, 295302.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Birtchnell, J. (1969). Parent death in relation to age and parental age at birth in psychiatric patients and general population controls. British Journal of Preventive and Social Medicine 23, 244.Google ScholarPubMed
Birtchnell, J. (1970 a). Early parent death and mental illness. British Journal of Psychiatry 116, 281288.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Birtchnell, J. (1970 b). Recent parent death and mental illness. British Journal of Psychiatry 116, 289297.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Birtchnell, J. (1970 c). Depression in relation to early and recent parent death. British Journal of Psychiatry 116, 299306.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Birtchnell, J. (1970 d). The relation between attempted suicide, depression and parent death. British Journal of Psychiatry 116, 307313.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Birtchnell, J. (1971). Case-register study of bereavement. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 64, 279282.Google ScholarPubMed
Birtchnell, J. (1972 a). Early parent death and psychiatric diagnosis. Social Psychiatry 7, 202210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Birtchnell, J. (1972 b). The inter-relationship between social class, early parent death and mental illness. Psychological Medicine 2, 166175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Birtchnell, J. (1974). Is there a scientifically acceptable alternative to the epidemiological study of familial factors in mental illness? Social Science and Medicine 8, 335350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Birtchnell, J. (1975). The personality characteristics of early bereaved psychiatric patients. Social Psychiatry 10, 97103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Birtchnell, J. (1978). Early parent death and the clinical scales of the MMPI. British Journal of Psychiatry 132,574579.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bowlby, J. (1961). Processes of mourning. International Journal of Psychoanalysis 44, 317340.Google Scholar
Brown, F. (1961). Depression and childhood bereavement. Journal of Mental Science 107, 754777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brown, F. & Epps, P. (1966). Childhood bereavement and subsequent crime. British Journal of Psychiatry 112, 10431048.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Brown, G. W. & Harris, T. (1978). Social Origins of Depression: A Study of Psychiatric Disorder in Women. Tavistock: London.Google Scholar
Brown, G. W., Harris, T. & Copeland, J. R. M. (1977). Depression and loss. British Journal of Psychiatry 130, 118.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dahlestrom, W. G. & Welsh, G. S. (1960). An MMPI Handbook. University of Minneapolis Press: Minneapolis.Google Scholar
Dennehy, C. M. (1966). Childhood bereavement and psychiatric illness. British Journal of Psychiatry 112, 10491069.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dunlop, J. L. (1979). Psychiatric aspects of urology. British Journal of Psychiatry 134, 436438.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Everitt, B. S. (1977). The Analysis of Contingency Tables. Chapman & Hall: London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Forrest, A. D., Fraser, R. H. & Priest, R. G. (1965). Environmental factors in depressive illness. British Journal of Psychiatry 111, 243253.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Freud, S. (1957). Mourning and melancholia. In Complete Psychological Works (standard edn), Vol. 14, pp. 237258. Hogarth: London.Google Scholar
Gay, M. J. & Tonge, W. L. (1967). The late effects of loss parents in childhood. British Journal of Psychiatry 113, 753759.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
General Register Office (1958). Decennial Supplement, England and Wales, 1951. Occupational Mortality. Part 2, vol. ii Tables. HMSO: London.Google Scholar
Goodman, N. (1957). Relation between maternal age at parturition and incidence of mental disorder in the offspring. British Journal of Preventive and Social Medicine 11 203213.Google ScholarPubMed
Granville-Grossman, K. L. (1966). Early bereavement and schizophrenia. British Journal of Psychiatry 112, 10271034.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Granville-Grossman, K. L. (1968). The early environment in affective disorder. In Recent Developments in Affective Disorders (ed. Coppen, A. and Walk, A.), pp. 6580 Royal Medico-Psychological Association, General Register Office: London.Google Scholar
Gregory, I. (1959). An analysis of family data on 1000 patients admitted to Canadian mental hospitals. Acta Genetica (Basel) 9, 5496.Google Scholar
Gregory, I. (1966). Retrospective data concerning childhood loss of a parent: II. Category of loss by decade of birth, diagnosis and MMPI. Archives of General Psychiatry 15 362367.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hill, O. W. & Price, J. S. (1967). Childhood bereavement and adult depression. British Journal of Psychiatry 113, 743751.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hopkinson, G. & Reed, G. F. (1966). Bereavement in childhood and depressive psychosis. British Journal Psychiatry 112, 459463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hudgens, R. W., Morrison, J. R. & Barchha, R. G. (1967). Life events and onset of primary affective disorders: a study of 40 hospitalised patients and 40 controls. Archives of General Psychiatry 16, 134145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kettner, B. (1968). Early parent loss and mental illness. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica Suppl. 203, 8182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Langner, T. S. (1962). A twenty-two item screening score of psychiatric symptoms indicating impairment. Journal Health and Social Behavior 3, 269276.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Langner, T. S. & Michael, S. (1963). Life Stress and Mental Health. Free Press: Glencoe, III.Google Scholar
Leighton, D. C., Macmillan, A. M., Harding, J. S., Macklin, D. B. & Leighton, A. H. (1963). The Character of Danger. Basic Books: New York.Google Scholar
Malzburg, B. (1940). Social and Biological Aspects of Mental Disease. Utica: New York.Google Scholar
Moran, P. A. P. (1968). Maternal age and parental loss. British Journal of Psychiatry 114, 207214.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Munro, A. (1966). Parental deprivation in depressive patients. British Journal of Psychiatry 112, 443457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Munro, A. & Griffiths, A. B. (1968). Further data on childhood parent-loss in psychiatric normals. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica 44, 385400.Google ScholarPubMed
Munro, A. & Griffiths, A. B. (1969). Some psychiatric nonsequelae of childhood bereavement. British Journal of Psychiatry 115, 305311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Norton, A. (1952). Incidence of neurosis related to maternal age and birth order. British Journal of Social Medicine 6, 253258.Google ScholarPubMed
Perris, C. (1966). A study of bipolar (manic-depressive) and unipolar recurrent depressive psychoses. I. Genetic investigation. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica 194, 1544.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pitts, F. N., Meyer, J., Brooks, M. & Winokur, G. (1965). Adult psychiatric illness assessed for childhood parental loss and psychiatric illness in family members – a study of 748 patients and 250.controls. American Journal of Psychiatry 121, Suppl. i–x.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Roy, A. (1978). Vulnerability factors and depression in women. British Journal of Psychiatry 113, 106110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rutter, M. (1972). Maternal Deprivation Reassessed. Penguin Books: Harmondsworth.Google Scholar
Seiler, L. H. (1974). The 22-item scale used in field studies of mental illness: a question of method, a question of substance and a question of theory. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 14, 252264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Slater, E. (1962). Birth order and maternal age of homosexuals. Lancet i, 6971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stockwell, E. G. (1963). A critical examination of the relationship between socioeconomic status and mortality. American Journal of Public Health 53, 956964.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Susser, M. (1973). Causal Thinking in the Health Sciences. Oxford University Press: London.Google Scholar
Tennant, C. & Bebbington, P. (1978). The social causation of depression: a critique of the work of Brown and his colleagues. Psychological Medicine 8, 565575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tennant, C., Bebbington, P. & Hurry, J. (1979). The effect of parent–child separations on psychological morbidity and illness behaviour in adult life.Presented at Second European Symposium of Social Psychiatry,Aarhus, Denmark,September 1979.Google Scholar
Weissman, M. M. & Myers, J. K. (1978). Rates and risks of depressive symptoms in a United States community. Acta psychiatrica scandinavica 57, 219231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilson, I. C., Alltop, L. B. & Buffaloe, W. J. (1967). Parental bereavement in childhood: MMPI profiles in a depressed population. British Journal of Psychiatry 113, 761764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
92
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Parental death in childhood and risk of adult depressive disorders: a review
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Parental death in childhood and risk of adult depressive disorders: a review
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Parental death in childhood and risk of adult depressive disorders: a review
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *