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September 13, 2006

Remission of Maternal Depression and Children's Psychopathology

JAMA. 2006;296(10):1232-1234. doi:10.1001/jama.296.10.1232-a

To the Editor: The article by Dr Weissman and colleagues1 demonstrated that remission of maternal depression after treatment was correlated with reduction in children's psychiatric diagnoses and treatment. The authors plausibly conclude that this suggests an effect of the maternal disorder on the child, but in their “Comment” section, they recognize that they have not demonstrated causality and that reverse causality or an unknown common cause are also possible. They give as an example a contemporary environmental event, reduction in levels of stress.