OBJECTIVES: To examine the association between parental affective disorders and psychoactive substance use disorders and the onset of major depressive disorder (MDD) among adolescents and young adults and to determine whether this association is affected by stressful life events, family cohesion, self-esteem, or gender.
METHOD: Prospective cohort study of 804 adolescents, aged 11-17 years, and their parents who were followed for seven consecutive years. The sample was drawn from the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Parental diagnoses were based on Structured Clinical Interview for administered during study screening stage. Diagnoses of MDD and age of onset were based on Composite International Diagnostic Interview 2.1 administered during final year of data collection.
RESULTS: Of the correlates examined, only parental affective disorders, low self-esteem, and gender were significantly related to the onset of MDD. Females were twice as likely as males to experience MDD.
CONCLUSIONS: The direct association between parental affective disorders and MDD onset was not affected by family cohesion, self-esteem, or stressful life events; thus more research is needed on other factors that may affect this association, such as genetic factors or other family- and intrapersonal-based variables.
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