How are children affected by a maternal diagnosis of major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Hammen et al reported a significant temporal association between depression diagnoses in mother and child. [44] They found that children with substantial stress exposure who also had symptomatic mothers were significantly more depressed than children who were exposed to comparable levels of stress only.

Mothers’ remission from depression, regardless of timing, has a consistently favorable influence on their children. In the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) Child study, all children whose mothers experienced remission from depression showed improvement in mood and behavior in the following year; children whose mothers recovered from depression within the first 3 months of treatment showed not only improved mood and behavior but significant improvement in functioning, as well. [45]


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