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September 16, 2009

Depression in At-Risk Adolescents and Their Parents—Reply

JAMA. 2009;302(11):1167-1168. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1330

In Reply: Drs Weissman and Talati present converging evidence that treating parental depression may be important for children's adjustment and recommended that interventions should target currently depressed parents and their high-risk offspring. Several empirical findings support this perspective. First, offspring of depressed parents are at increased risk for depression and other psychiatric disorders. Second, interventions aimed at treating currently depressed children1,2 and preventing depression in at-risk youth (in our study) have been found to be less effective when a parent is currently depressed. Third, treatment of depression in parents of children with current psychopathology resulted in lower levels of children's self-reported depressive symptoms.3 Fourth, a significant association has been found between remission in mothers' depression and decreases in their children's symptoms and disorders.4 Thus, it is fair to conclude that reducing depression in parents likely will yield more positive outcomes in their children.

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