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August 4, 2021

Applying Transgenerational Scientific Evidence to the Next Wave of Early Identification Strategies for Psychopathological Risk—Transdiagnostic, Developmental, and Personalized

Author Affiliations
  • 1Section of Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
  • 2Center for Translational, Phenomenological and Developmental Psychopathology, Perugia University Hospital, Perugia, Italy
  • 3Department of Mental Health and Pathological Addiction, Child and Adolescent Neuropsychiatry Service, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale–IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  • 4Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
JAMA Psychiatry. 2021;78(10):1067-1068. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2021.1901

The transmission of risk for severe mental disorders across generations is a crucial (yet often neglected and misunderstood) issue that has tremendous implications for delayed risk recognition, unmet needs, missed opportunities for preemptive psychosocial interventions, and increased lifetime risk of maladaptive consequences. In addition to presumed genetic liability, offspring of parents with severe mental disorders are often exposed to chronic environmental risk factors beginning in early childhood, including inadequate parenting. Nonetheless, owing to current service architecture1 and delayed translation of relevant science into clinical practice,2 children and adolescents at familial high risk are generally not identified as early as possible, with cascading consequences in terms of unnecessary effects of the illness and delayed treatment.

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