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Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2013 May 10;12(1):15. doi: 10.1186/1744-859X-12-15.

Major depressive disorder in a Kenyan youth sample: relationship with parenting behavior and parental psychiatric disorders.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Nairobi, P,O, Box 59176 00200, Nairobi, Kenya.



Studies on mental health problems during childhood and youth development phases have reported that families of children diagnosed with a depressive disorder tend to be dysfunctional. These dysfunctions have been shown to be mediating factors for children to develop psychiatric disorders in the future.


This study was designed to investigate whether perceived parenting behavior and parental psychiatric disorders have any relationship with youth presenting with major depressive disorder.


The study sample had a total number of 250 purposely selected youth attending the Youth Clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi.


This study found associations between major depressive disorders (MDD) in the youth and co-morbid psychiatric disorders among the youth: conduct disorder (OR = 2.93, 95% CI 1.04 to 8.26, p = 0.035), any anxiety disorder (OR = 2.41, 95% CI 1.20 to 4.87, p = 0.012), drug abuse (OR = 3.40, 95% CI 2.01 to 5.76, p < 0.001), alcohol use (OR = 3.29, 95% CI 1.94 to 5.57, p < 0.001), and suicidal behavior (OR = 5.27, 95% CI 2.39 to 11.66, p < 0.001). The results also indicate that a higher proportion of youth between 16 and 18 years had major depressive disorder than the youth below 16 years or above 18 years of age (OR = 2.66, 95% CI 1.40 to 5.05, p = 0.003). Multivariate analysis shows that both rejecting maternal behavior (AOR = 2.165, 95% CI 1.060 to 4.422, p = 0.003) and maternal MDD (AOR = 5.27, 95% CI 1.10 to 14.76, p < 0.001) are associated with MDD in youth.


Negative maternal parenting behavior and maternal depressive disorder are associated with major depressive disorder in children.

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