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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2011 Oct;42(5):594-608. doi: 10.1007/s10578-011-0235-4.

Emotional and behavioral functioning of offspring of African American mothers with depression.

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  • 1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. rboyd@mail.med.upenn.edu

Abstract

Extensive research demonstrates the negative impact of maternal depression on their offspring. Unfortunately, few studies have been explored in African American families. This study examined emotional and behavioral functioning among children of African American mothers with depression. African American mothers (n = 63), with a past year diagnosis of a depressive disorder, and one of their children (ages 7-14) completed behavioral rating scales in a cross-sectional design. Results showed that 6.5 and 15% scored within the clinical range for depression and anxiety symptoms, respectively. Approximately a third of the offspring reported suicidal ideation. Based on mothers' report, 25.4 and 20.6% of the offspring exhibited internalizing and externalizing symptoms in the clinical range, respectively. Offspring whose mothers were in treatment exhibited higher levels of self-reported anxiety symptoms. Offspring of African American mothers with depression were exhibiting socioemotional problems in ways that are similar to offspring of European American mothers with depression.

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