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Psychopathology in the Adolescent and Young Adult Offspring of Parents With Dysthymic Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder

Lizardi, Humberto PhD*; Klein, Daniel N. PhD†; Shankman, Stewart A. MA†

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: March 2004 - Volume 192 - Issue 3 - pp 193-199
Original Articles

This study addressed the following question: are the adolescent and young adult offspring of parents with early-onset dysthymic disorder (DD) at increased risk for psychopathology? Participants included 41 offspring of 21 outpatients with early-onset DD, 19 offspring of nine outpatients with episodic major depressive disorder (MDD), and 32 offspring of 11 normal controls (NCs). Lifetime best-estimate diagnoses were determined for each offspring using a team consensus method. Diagnoses were derived blind to all information about the index parents. The offspring of outpatients with early-onset DD exhibited significantly higher lifetime rates of a broad range of psychiatric disorders than the offspring of NCs. In addition, the offspring of outpatients with early-onset DD exhibited significantly higher lifetime rates of DD, anxiety disorders, and phobia than the offspring of outpatients with episodic MDD. These results support the importance of early-onset DD in parents as a risk factor for psychopathology in their offspring.

*Department of Psychology, City University of New York at Lehman College, Bronx, NY; and †Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY.

Send reprint requests to Dr. Humberto Lizardi, Department of Psychology, City University of New York at Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468-1589.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.