Highlights

  • Researchers explore how living with a parent with depression affects children
  • Children of parents with depression more likely to develop the illness
  • Such children are also less likely to achieve educational milestones

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Is depression hereditary? How the mental illness transverses generations

Results of a new study conducted at UK’s Swansea University show that children who live with a parent suffering from depression are more likely to develop the disease themselves. 

Does living with a person suffering from depression affect the cohabitant's well-being?

Results of a new study conducted at UK’s Swansea University show that children who live with a parent suffering from depression are more likely to develop the illness themselves. These children were also less likely to achieve educational milestones.

Published in the journal PLOS One, the study looked at the effects of timing of both maternal and paternal depression on offspring outcomes.

SEE MORE 43% older adults struggled with depression during Covid-19 lockdown: Study

Based on anonymised medical records from the SAIL databank, it was found that children were more likely to develop depression if their mother had depression before their birth, after birth and most likely if the mother had depression both before and after birth.

The depression risk also increased if the father or man of the household had depression but the risk was higher with mothers.

The chances of inter-generational transmission of depression were also elevated with risk factors such as being female, the mother taking antidepressants and having no stable man in the household.

The team explained that while maternal depression is a known risk factor for children, the lockdown and Covid-19 have made it important to understand just how contagious the illness can be.

SEE MORE Postpartum depression may linger years after childbirth, finds study

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