Send to

Choose Destination
J Affect Disord. 2008 Dec;111(2-3):176-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2008.02.019. Epub 2008 Apr 18.

Disruptive behavior disorders in offspring of parents with major depression: associations with parental behavior disorders.

Author information

Clinical and Research Program in Pediatric Psychopharmacology, Massachusetts General Hospital, United States.



Although the offspring of parents with major depressive disorder (MDD) are at increased risk to develop disruptive behavior disorders (DBD) in addition to MDD, it remains unclear whether this heightened risk is due to MDD or to comorbid DBD in the parents.


In a secondary analysis of longitudinal data from offspring at risk for MDD and panic disorder and comparison children, we stratified 169 children of parents who had been treated for MDD based upon presence (n=50) or absence (n=119) of parental history of DBD (ADHD, oppositional disorder, and conduct disorder) and contrasted them with children of parents with DBD but without MDD (n=19) and children whose parents had neither MDD nor DBD (n=106). The children had been assessed in middle childhood using structured diagnostic interviews.


Offspring of parents with MDD + DBD had significantly higher rates of MDD, DBD in general, and ADHD in particular, compared with offspring of parents with MDD alone. Offspring of parents with MDD + DBD also had higher rates of mania than controls. Both parental MDD and DBD conferred independent risk for MDD and DBD in the offspring. However, only parental DBD conferred independent risk for conduct disorder and ADHD and only parental MDD conferred independent risk for oppositional defiant disorder.


Elevated rates of DBD in the offspring of parents with MDD appear to be due in part to the presence of DBD in the parents. Further studies of samples not selected on the basis of parental panic disorder are needed to confirm these results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center