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New Research: Parenting Plays a Big Role in Passing Depression Down Through Generations

What kind of study was this?

This was a narrative literature review, which means that the researchers look at all the big and well-known research studies on a topic and write about what they mean when looked at as a whole.

What did researchers want to know?

They wanted to know what the major research studies showed about how depression is passed down from mothers to children.

What did the researchers actually do?

They looked at the major, well-known studies that examined the links between maternal depression and various mental and emotional health outcomes in children.

What did the researchers find?

Children of parents with depression have significantly higher levels of irritability and fear, lower responses to rewards, stronger stress reactions, and worse relationships. And all of these factors are associated with a higher risk of developing depression in adulthood.

While some genetic factors have been identified, researchers believe that environment (parenting, household income, family education levels, and neighborhoods) plays a big role in switching genes on and off. Perhaps the most important environmental factor is parenting. Researchers found that depressed parents have higher odds of being less responsive and sensitive to their kids, engaging in less preventative healthcare, and being in poorly functioning households.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Intergenerational cycles of depression are more likely caused by environmental factors like parenting, rather than genetics alone. The good news is that we can change environmental factors a lot easier than genetics. Breaking the cycle of intergenerational depression is possible, and doing the work in this generation will make it a lot easier for the next generation.

Original article:
Gotlib IH, Goodman SH, Humphreys KL. Studying the Intergenerational Transmission of Risk for Depression: Current Status and Future Directions. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2020;29(2):174-179. doi:10.1177/0963721420901590

New Research: Parenting Plays a Big Role in Passing Depression Down Through Generations

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New Research: Parenting Plays a Big Role in Passing Depression Down Through Generations

Adult children of depressed parents are three to six times more likely to suffer from clinical depression at some point in their life. Learn more about new research on intergenerational depression.

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Key takeaways

1

Adult children of depressed parents are three to six times more likely to suffer from clinical depression at some point in their life

2

This literature review describes the major studies that examine the causes and effects of intergenerational depression

3

While genetics plays some role, parenting has been shown to affect depression risk directly and indirectly

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What kind of study was this?

This was a narrative literature review, which means that the researchers look at all the big and well-known research studies on a topic and write about what they mean when looked at as a whole.

What did researchers want to know?

They wanted to know what the major research studies showed about how depression is passed down from mothers to children.

What did the researchers actually do?

They looked at the major, well-known studies that examined the links between maternal depression and various mental and emotional health outcomes in children.

What did the researchers find?

Children of parents with depression have significantly higher levels of irritability and fear, lower responses to rewards, stronger stress reactions, and worse relationships. And all of these factors are associated with a higher risk of developing depression in adulthood.

While some genetic factors have been identified, researchers believe that environment (parenting, household income, family education levels, and neighborhoods) plays a big role in switching genes on and off. Perhaps the most important environmental factor is parenting. Researchers found that depressed parents have higher odds of being less responsive and sensitive to their kids, engaging in less preventative healthcare, and being in poorly functioning households.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Intergenerational cycles of depression are more likely caused by environmental factors like parenting, rather than genetics alone. The good news is that we can change environmental factors a lot easier than genetics. Breaking the cycle of intergenerational depression is possible, and doing the work in this generation will make it a lot easier for the next generation.

Original article:
Gotlib IH, Goodman SH, Humphreys KL. Studying the Intergenerational Transmission of Risk for Depression: Current Status and Future Directions. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2020;29(2):174-179. doi:10.1177/0963721420901590

What kind of study was this?

This was a narrative literature review, which means that the researchers look at all the big and well-known research studies on a topic and write about what they mean when looked at as a whole.

What did researchers want to know?

They wanted to know what the major research studies showed about how depression is passed down from mothers to children.

What did the researchers actually do?

They looked at the major, well-known studies that examined the links between maternal depression and various mental and emotional health outcomes in children.

What did the researchers find?

Children of parents with depression have significantly higher levels of irritability and fear, lower responses to rewards, stronger stress reactions, and worse relationships. And all of these factors are associated with a higher risk of developing depression in adulthood.

While some genetic factors have been identified, researchers believe that environment (parenting, household income, family education levels, and neighborhoods) plays a big role in switching genes on and off. Perhaps the most important environmental factor is parenting. Researchers found that depressed parents have higher odds of being less responsive and sensitive to their kids, engaging in less preventative healthcare, and being in poorly functioning households.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Intergenerational cycles of depression are more likely caused by environmental factors like parenting, rather than genetics alone. The good news is that we can change environmental factors a lot easier than genetics. Breaking the cycle of intergenerational depression is possible, and doing the work in this generation will make it a lot easier for the next generation.

Original article:
Gotlib IH, Goodman SH, Humphreys KL. Studying the Intergenerational Transmission of Risk for Depression: Current Status and Future Directions. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2020;29(2):174-179. doi:10.1177/0963721420901590

What kind of study was this?

This was a narrative literature review, which means that the researchers look at all the big and well-known research studies on a topic and write about what they mean when looked at as a whole.

What did researchers want to know?

They wanted to know what the major research studies showed about how depression is passed down from mothers to children.

What did the researchers actually do?

They looked at the major, well-known studies that examined the links between maternal depression and various mental and emotional health outcomes in children.

What did the researchers find?

Children of parents with depression have significantly higher levels of irritability and fear, lower responses to rewards, stronger stress reactions, and worse relationships. And all of these factors are associated with a higher risk of developing depression in adulthood.

While some genetic factors have been identified, researchers believe that environment (parenting, household income, family education levels, and neighborhoods) plays a big role in switching genes on and off. Perhaps the most important environmental factor is parenting. Researchers found that depressed parents have higher odds of being less responsive and sensitive to their kids, engaging in less preventative healthcare, and being in poorly functioning households.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Intergenerational cycles of depression are more likely caused by environmental factors like parenting, rather than genetics alone. The good news is that we can change environmental factors a lot easier than genetics. Breaking the cycle of intergenerational depression is possible, and doing the work in this generation will make it a lot easier for the next generation.

Original article:
Gotlib IH, Goodman SH, Humphreys KL. Studying the Intergenerational Transmission of Risk for Depression: Current Status and Future Directions. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 2020;29(2):174-179. doi:10.1177/0963721420901590

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