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Influence of parental concordance for psychiatric disorders on psychopathology in offspring.

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  • 1Wesleyan University, Department of Psychology, Middletown, CT 06459, USA.



To examine the influence of parental mating types for substance abuse and anxiety/affective disorders on the risk of psychopathology among child and adolescent offspring.


Emotional and behavioral disorders were assessed in offspring, aged 7 to 17 years, of male and female parents who served as probands from a family study of comorbidity of substance abuse and anxiety disorders.


The findings indicated that (1) patterns of psychopathology among offspring were similar for mothers and fathers; (2) spouse concordance for psychopathology was greater among parents with substance abuse than among those with anxiety, particularly among female substance abusers; (3) there was a direct relationship between the number of affected parents and the magnitude of psychopathology in children, particularly with respect to the anxiety disorders; and (4) by contrast, rates of conduct disorder were elevated only among offspring of dually affected parents, irrespective of the specific parental disorders.


These findings underscore the importance of the contribution of both mothers and fathers, particularly those with concordance for psychiatric disorders, to the development of psychopathology in offspring.

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