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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2001 Mar;42(3):381-94.

Parental concordance and comorbidity for psychiatric disorder and associate risks for current psychiatric symptoms and disorders in a community sample of juvenile twins.

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Department of Human Genetics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298-0003, USA.


In this report we characterize associations between parental psychiatric disorders and children's psychiatric symptoms and disorders using a population-based sample of 850 twin families. Juvenile twins are aged 8-17 years and are personally interviewed about their current history of DSM-III-R conduct, depression, oppositional-defiant, overanxious, and separation anxiety disorders using the CAPA-C. Mothers and fathers of twins are personally interviewed about their lifetime history of DSM-III-R alcoholism, antisocial personality disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, panic disorder/agoraphobia, social phobia, and simple phobia using a modified version of the SCID and the DIS. Generalized least squares and logistic regression are used to identify the juvenile symptoms and disorders that are significantly associated with parental psychiatric histories. The specificity of these associations is subsequently explored in a subset of families with maternal plus parental psychiatric histories with a prevalence > 1%. Parental depression that is not comorbid or associated with a different spousal disorder is associated with a significantly elevated level of depression and overanxious disorder symptoms and a significantly increased risk for overanxious disorder. Risks are higher for both symptomatic domains in association with maternal than paternal depression, and highest in association with maternal plus paternal depression. Risks for otherjuvenile symptoms and disorders index the comorbid and spousal histories with which parental depression is commonly associated. Paternal alcoholism that is not comorbid or associated with a maternal disorder is not significantly associated with current psychiatric symptoms or disorders in offspring. Risks for oppositional-defiant or conduct symptoms/disorders in the offspring of alcoholic parents index parental comorbidity and/or other spousal histories.

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