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Parental Psychopathology and Childhood Atopic Disorders in the Community

Mojtabai, Ramin MD

doi: 10.1097/01.psy.0000160460.59505.db
Original Articles

Objective: To examine the association of parental psychopathology and childhood atopic disorders in the general population.

Methods: In a sample of 9,240 parent–child dyads drawn from the 1999 US National Health Interview Survey, the association of childhood atopic disorders with parental major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic attacks was examined. Parental DSM-IV psychiatric diagnoses were ascertained by the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, Short-Form (CIDI-SF).

Results: Parental major depression and panic attacks were associated with childhood atopic disorders only in biological parent–child dyads (adjusted odds ratios = 1.67 for major depression and 1.46 for panic attacks), and among these more strongly in mother–child dyads. Parental atopic disorders and parental psychopathology had an additive effect on the risk of atopic disorders in the offspring.

Conclusion: Findings from this study lend support to the “shared genetic liability” hypothesis for the association of childhood atopic disorders and parental major depression and panic attacks.

NHIS = National Health Interview Survey; CIDI-SF = Composite International Diagnostic Interview, Short Form; DSM-IV = Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition; MD = major depression; GAD = generalized anxiety disorder; PA = panic attacks.

From the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, New York.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Ramin Mojtabai, MD, 10 Waterside Plaza, Apt. 5J, New York, NY 10010. E-mail:

Received for publication June 22, 2004; revision received November 23, 2004.

Copyright © 2005 by American Psychosomatic Society
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