“While the increased risk of psychopathology in the biological offspring of depressed parents has been widely replicated, the long-term outcome through their full age of risk is less known. The authors present a 30-year follow-up of biological offspring (mean age=47 years) of depressed (high-risk) and nondepressed (low-risk) parents. One hundred forty-seven offspring of moderately to severely depressed or nondepressed parents selected from the same community were followed for up to 30 years. Diagnostic assessments were conducted blind to parents’ clinical status. Final diagnoses were made by a blinded M.D. or Ph.D. evaluator. …The offspring of depressed parents remain at high risk for depression, morbidity, and mortality that persists into their middle years. While adolescence is the major period of onset for major depression in both risk groups, it is the offspring with family history who go on to have recurrences and a poor outcome as they mature. In the era of personalized medicine, until a more biologically based understanding of individual risk is found, a simple family history assessment of major depression as part of clinical care can be a predictor of individuals at long-term risk.”
Weissman MM, Wickramaratne P, Gameroff MJ, Warner V, Pilowsky D, Kohad RG, Verdeli H, Skipper J, Talati A: Offspring of Depressed Parents: 30 Years Later. Am J Psychiatry [Epub ahead of print, Apr 26, 2016 :appiajp201615101327].