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Parental depression and the challenge of preventing mental illness in children

  • Paul G. Ramchandani (a1) and Susannah E. Murphy (a1)

Summary

Parental depression is a risk factor for psychiatric problems in children and adolescents. Exciting scientific developments have elucidated potential early mechanisms of intergenerational risk transmission and new models of intervention may help to prevent some childhood problems. However, caution is needed in interpreting such associations as causal and in targeting interventions appropriately.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Paul G. Ramchandani, Academic Unit of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 3rd Floor, QEQM Building, Imperial College, St Marys Campus, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK. Email: p.ramchandani@imperial.ac.uk

Footnotes

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See pp. 108-114, this issue

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes

References

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1 Goodman, SH, Gotlib, IH. Children of Depressed Parents: Mechanisms of Risk and implications for Treatment American Psychological Association, 2002.
2 Sellers, R, Collishaw, S, Rice, F, Thapar, AK, Potter, R, Mars, B, et al Risk of psychopathology in adolescent offspring of mothers with psychopathology and recurrent depression. Br J Psychiatry 2013; 202: 108–14.
3 Shonkoff, JP, Boyce, WT. McEwen, BS. Neuroscience, molecular biology and the childhood roots of health disparities: building a new framework for health promotion and disease prevention. J Am Med Assoc 2009; 301: 2252–9.
4 Thapar, A, Rutter, M. Do prenatal risk factors cause psychiatric disorder? Be wary of causal claims. Br J Psychiatry 2009; 195: 100–1.
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6 Weaver, ICG, Cervoni, N, Champagne, FA, D'Alession, AC, Sharma, S, Seckl, JR, et al Epigenetic programming by maternal behavior. Nat Neurosci 2004; 7: 847–54.
7 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Antenatal and Postnatal Mental Health (Clinical Guideline 45). NICE, 2007.
8 Weissman, MM, Pilowsky, DJ, Wickramaratne, PJ, Talati, A, Wisniewski, SR, Fava, M, et al Remissions in maternal depression and child psychopathology: a STAR*D-Child report. J Am Med Assoc 2006; 295: 1389–98.
9 Beardslee, WR, Gladstone, TR, Wright, EJ, Cooper, AB. A family-based approach to the prevention of depressive symptoms in children at risk: evidence of parental and child change. Pediatrics 2003; 112: el1931.
10 Solantus, T, Paavonen, EJ, Toikka, S, Punamaki, RL. Preventive interventions in families with parental depression: children's psychosocial symptoms and prosocial behaviour. Eur J Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2010; 19: 883–92.
11 Forman, DR. O'Hara, MW. Stuart, S. Gorman, LL, Larsen, KE, Coy, KC. Effective treatment for postpartum depression is not sufficient to improve the developing mother-child relationship. Dev Psychopathol 2007; 19: 585602.

Parental depression and the challenge of preventing mental illness in children

  • Paul G. Ramchandani (a1) and Susannah E. Murphy (a1)

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Parental depression and the challenge of preventing mental illness in children

  • Paul G. Ramchandani (a1) and Susannah E. Murphy (a1)
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