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December 1990

Longitudinal Study of Diagnoses in Children of Women With Unipolar and Bipolar Affective Disorder

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychology (Drs Hammen, Burge, and Adrian and Ms Burney) and Psychiatry (Dr Hammen), UCLA.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(12):1112-1117. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810240032006

• School-age children of unipolar depressed, bipolar, chronically medically ill, or normal women were diagnosed every 6 months for up to 3 years. Offspring of unipolar women had the highest rates of disorder at all evaluations, but children of bipolar and medically ill mothers also experienced significant rates of disorder. Observing diagnoses from both past lifetime and prospective follow-up assessments, it appeared that most children who had diagnoses had onsets in preadolescence and continued a chronic or intermittent course of disorder. Thus, risk to offspring of ill mothers is not transitory and indicates a pernicious course that commonly includes affective disorders alone or in combination with behavior and anxiety disorders.

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