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Maternal depression and anxiety predicts the pattern of offspring symptoms during their transition to adulthood

  • H. Gonçalves (a1), R. M. Pearson (a2) (a3), B. L. Horta (a1), D. A. González-Chica (a4), E. Castilho (a1), M. Damiani (a5), R. C. Lima (a6), D. P. Gigante (a1), F. C. Barros (a7), A. Stein (a3) and C. G. Victora (a1)...

Abstract

Background

Episodes of depression and anxiety (D&A) during the transition from late adolescence to adulthood, particularly when persistent, are predictive of long-term disorders and associated public health burden. Understanding risk factors at this time is important to guide intervention. The current objective was to investigate the associations between maternal symptoms of D&A with offspring symptoms during their transition to adulthood.

Method

Data from a large population-based birth cohort study, in South Brazil, were used. Prospective associations between maternal D&A and offspring risk of these symptoms during the transition to adulthood (18/19, 24 and 30 years) were estimated.

Results

Maternal D&A in adolescence was associated with offspring symptoms across the transition to adulthood, associations were consistently stronger for females than for males. Daughters whose mothers reported D&A were 4.6 times (95% confidence interval 2.71–7.84) as likely to report D&A at all three time-points, than daughters of symptom-free mothers.

Conclusions

Maternal D&A is associated with persistent D&A during the daughter's transition to adulthood. Intervention strategies should consider the mother's mental health.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: Dr R. M. Pearson, School of Social & Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK. (Email: Rebecca.pearson@bristol.ac.uk)

References

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