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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.
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.
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.
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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