Original ArticleRe-Examining the Long-Term Effects of Experiencing Parental Death in Childhood on Adult PsychopathologyJacobs, John R. PhD*; Bovasso, Gregory B. PhD† Author Information *Department of Psychology, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut; and †Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Send reprint requests to John R. Jacobs, PhD, Department of Psychology, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT. E-mail: [email protected]. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: January 2009 - Volume 197 - Issue 1 - p 24-27 doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181927723 Buy Metrics Abstract This study examined whether the experience of the death of a parent in childhood increases risk for adult psychopathology. Participants consisted of 3481 men and women gathered through the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area study in 1981 and followed through 1994–1995. The Diagnostic Interview Survey was administered by trained interviewers and was used to assess DSM-III disorders including major depression, panic, and anxiety disorders. Maternal death was not a predictor of adult psychopathology. The death of the father during childhood more than doubled the risk for major depressive disorder in adulthood. This study did not find any significant interactions between gender of the deceased parent and gender of the participant nor did the current age of the participant or their age at the time of the death of a parent affect risk for adult psychopathology. The long-term effect on adult depression of the experience of the death of the father in childhood is attributed to likely financial stresses, which may have continued for years and possibly into early adulthood, complicating the family's adaptation to the initial loss. © 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.