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Nurturing depressive symptoms in young people

According to a recent study, published in the September issue of the Journal of Psychiatry, teenagers are more likely to display symptoms associated with depression if their mother has major depression. This effect was found for both adopted and non adopted young people. In the same journal another study found that treating the mother?s depression had a positive impact upon the mood and behaviour of the child. Together these studies clearly illustrate the role of the environment in cultivating depressive symptoms in young people.

The study, looking at maternal depression and young peoples symptoms, is the first longitudinal study to look at adopted and non adopted children of depressed parents. The researchers compared 568 adopted young people with 416 non adopted young people, and their parents.  The results clearly show that depressed mothers, not fathers, make a difference to young people?s depressive symptoms no matter whether those young people were biological children or not:  they did find that the symptoms were slightly worse in biological children. For both adopted and non adopted young people having a depressed mother also increased the rate of behaviour problems.

This study has implications for how we think about depressive symptoms in young people.  The authors say that depression in mothers can impair parenting skills and cause marital conflict.  These factors influence young people?s mood and behaviour causing them to experience symptoms similar to depression.  To read the article click here To read the other article on the  treatment of depression in mothers and the benefits that this has on young people's mood and behaviour click here You may need to pay for these.

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