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Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Sep;147(9):1128-37.

Family functioning and major depression: an overview.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, Providence, R.I.


The authors review the evidence supporting the idea that the family plays a major role in the development and course of major depression. They find that the family pathology evident during an acute depressive episode continues after the patient's remission; that the course of depressive illness, relapse rates, and suicidal behavior are all affected by family functioning; and that children of depressed parents are at high risk for psychopathology. The authors explore unresolved issues regarding our understanding of the factors mediating the interaction between major depression and family functioning, concluding that there is evidence to support family and marital interventions, particularly in the treatment of depressed women.

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