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The association between paternal and adolescent depressive symptoms: evidence from two population-based cohorts

Lewis, G; Neary, M; Polek, E; Flouri, E; Lewis, G; (2017) The association between paternal and adolescent depressive symptoms: evidence from two population-based cohorts. Lancet Psychiatry , 4 (12) pp. 920-926. 10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30408-X. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Incidence of depression increases markedly around age 13 years, and nearly three-quarters of adults report that their mental health problems started in adolescence. Although maternal depression is a risk factor for adolescent depression, evidence about the association between paternal and adolescent depression is inconclusive, and many studies have methodological limitations. We aimed to assess the association between paternal and adolescent depressive symptoms in two large population-based cohort studies. METHODS: We used data for two-parent families from two representative prospective cohorts in Ireland (Growing up in Ireland [GUI]) and the UK (Millennium Cohort Study [MCS]). Parental depressive symptoms were measured with the Centre for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale in the GUI cohort when children were 9 years old, and the Kessler six-item psychological distress scale in the MCS cohort when children were 7 years old. Adolescent depressive symptoms were measured with the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire (SMFQ) at age 13 years in the GUI cohort and age 14 years in the MCS cohort. We analysed data using linear regression models, before and after adjustment for confounders, in both multiply imputed and complete case samples. FINDINGS: There were 6070 families in GUI and 7768 in MCS. After all adjustments, a 1 SD (three-point) increase in paternal depressive symptoms was associated with an increase of 0·24 SMFQ points (95% CI 0·03-0·45; p=0·023) in the GUI cohort and 0·18 SMFQ points (0·01-0·36; p=0·041) in the MCS cohort. This association was independent of, and not different in magnitude to, the association between maternal and adolescent depressive symptoms (Wald test p=0·435 in the GUI cohort and 0·470 in the MCS cohort). INTERPRETATION: Our results show an association between depressive symptoms in fathers and depressive symptoms in their adolescent offspring. These findings support the involvement of fathers as well as mothers in early interventions to reduce the prevalence of adolescent depression, and highlight the importance of treating depression in both parents. FUNDING: Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Economic and Social Research Council.

Type: Article
Title: The association between paternal and adolescent depressive symptoms: evidence from two population-based cohorts
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30408-X
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(17)30408-X
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10039027
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