Longitudinal symptom course in adults with recurrent depression: Impact on impairment and risk of psychopathology in offspring

Becky Mars, Stephan Collishaw, Gemma Hammerton, Frances Rice, Gordon T Harold, Daniel Smith, Rhys Bevan Jones, Ruth Sellers, Robert Potter, Nicolas Craddock, Ajay K Thapar, Jon E Heron, Anita Thapar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
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Major depressive disorder (MDD) is common and is associated with an increased risk ofpsychopathology in offspring. However, depression shows considerable heterogeneity in its course over time. The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between parentdepression symptom trajectories and (i) quality of life and social impairment and (ii) psychiatric disorder and depression symptoms in their offspring.


Participants were from a longitudinal study of 337 parents with recurrent MDD and their adolescent offspring. Families were assessed on three occasions over four years. Parent depressive symptoms and current MDD diagnosis were assessed using the Schedules for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry. Adult quality of life and social impairment were derived from the EuroQol and current employment status. Psychiatric outcomes in offspring were assessed using the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment.


Using latent class growth analysis, three distinct classes of parental depression symptoms were identified (asymptomatic, mild, and chronic high). Parent depression classes were associated with their own quality of life and social impairment, and with psychiatric disorder and depression symptoms in their offspring.


(i) We were unable to test associations with specific offspring disorders, (ii) we did not address the direction of effects underlying associations, and (iii) the sample consisted primarily of mothers and findings may not generalise to depressed fathers.


Longitudinal assessments of depressive symptoms in parents could help to identify families who are most in need of early intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-38
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

Available online 17 April 2015


  • Adolescent
  • Depression: parent
  • Symptom course
  • Longitudinal


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