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Explaining risk for suicidal ideation in adolescent offspring of mothers with depression

Hammerton, Gemma, Zammit, Stanley ORCID:, Thapar, Anita ORCID: and Collishaw, Stephan ORCID: 2016. Explaining risk for suicidal ideation in adolescent offspring of mothers with depression. Psychological Medicine -London- 46 (2) , pp. 265-275. 10.1017/S0033291715001671

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BACKGROUND: It is well-established that offspring of depressed mothers are at increased risk for suicidal ideation. However, pathways involved in the transmission of risk for suicidal ideation from depressed mothers to offspring are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to examine the contribution of potential mediators of this association, including maternal suicide attempt, offspring psychiatric disorder and the parent-child relationship. METHOD: Data were utilized from a population-based birth cohort (ALSPAC). Three distinct classes of maternal depression symptoms across the first 11 years of the child's life had already been identified (minimal, moderate, chronic-severe). Offspring suicidal ideation was assessed at age 16 years. Data were analysed using structural equation modelling. RESULTS: There was evidence for increased risk of suicidal ideation in offspring of mothers with chronic-severe depression symptoms compared to offspring of mothers with minimal symptoms (odds ratio 3.04, 95% confidence interval 2.19-4.21). The majority of this association was explained through maternal suicide attempt and offspring psychiatric disorder. There was also evidence for an independent indirect effect via the parent-child relationship in middle childhood. There was no longer evidence of a direct effect of maternal depression on offspring suicidal ideation after accounting for all three mediators. The pattern of results was similar when examining mechanisms for maternal moderate depression symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Findings highlight that suicide prevention efforts in offspring of depressed mothers should be particularly targeted at both offspring with a psychiatric disorder and offspring whose mothers have made a suicide attempt. Interventions aimed at improving the parent-child relationship may also be beneficial.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics > RJ101 Child Health. Child health services
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0033-2917
Funders: PhD stipend from the Neuroscience and Mental Health Interdisciplinary Research Group (NNH-IRG) at Cardiff University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 2 August 2015
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 15:56

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