Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Br J Psychiatry. 2004 Aug;185:97-101.

Impact of stressful life events, familial loading and their interaction on the onset of mood disorders: study in a high-risk cohort of adolescent offspring of parents with bipolar disorder.

Author information

  • 1Altrecht Institute for Mental Health Care, Lange Nieuwstraat 119, 3512 PG Utrecht, The Netherlands.



Stressful life events are established as risk factors for the onset of mood disorders, but few studies have investigated their impact on the development of mood disorders in adolescents.


To study the effect of life events on the development of mood disorders in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder, with respect to the possibility of a decay effect and modification by familial loading.


In a high-risk cohort of 140 Dutch adolescent offspring of parents with bipolar disorder, we assessed life events, current and past DSM-IV diagnoses and familial loading. To explore their interaction and impact on mood disorder onset, we constructed four different models and used a multivariate survival analysis with time-dependent covariates.


The relationship between life events and mood disorder was described optimally with a model in which the effects of life events gradually decayed by 25% per year. The effect of life event load was not significantly stronger in the case of high familial loading.


Independent of familial loading, life events increase the liability to mood disorders in children of patients with bipolar disorder but the effects slowly diminish with time.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk