September 1984

Depression and Anxiety Disorders in Parents and ChildrenResults From the Yale Family Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry (Drs Weissman, Leckman, Merikangas, Gammon, and Prusoff) and Epidemiology (Dr Weissman), and the Child Study Center (Dr Leckman), Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(9):845-852. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790200027004

• The children (aged 6 to 17 years) of probands with primary major depression, with and without various anxiety disorders, were compared with the children of a matched normal control group. The results from the study of these young children parallel our previous findings among the adult first-degree relatives of these probands. Depression in the proband increased the risk of depression in the children. Depression plus panic disorder or agoraphobia in the proband conferred an additional risk of depression and of an anxiety disorder in the children. Panic disorder in the parents conferred more than a threefold increased risk of separation anxiety in the children. Other factors that increased the risk to children were degree of familial loading for psychiatric illness, parental assortative mating, and parental recurrent depression. The findings suggest a relationship between depression and some of the anxiety disorders, and between adult panic disorder and agoraphobia and transmission of anxiety disorders to children.