By Yvonne M Whelan, Ellen Leibenluft, Argyris Stringaris, Edward D Barker
The authors tested three possible pathways linking prenatal maternal depressive symptoms to adolescent depressive symptoms. These pathways went through childhood Irritability Symptoms, Anxiety/Depressive Symptoms or Conduct Problems.
Data were collected from 3,963 mother–child pairs participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Measures include maternal depressive symptoms (pre- and postnatal); toddler temperament (2 years); childhood (7–13 years) irritability symptoms, anxiety/depressive symptoms, conduct problems, and adolescent depressive symptoms (16 years).
Irritability Symptoms: This pathway linked sequentially – prenatal maternal depressive symptoms, toddler temperament (high perceived intensity and low perceived adaptability), childhood irritability symptoms, and adolescent depressive symptoms. Anxiety/Depressive symptoms: This pathway linked sequentially – prenatal maternal depressive symptoms, toddler temperament (negative perceived mood), childhood anxiety/depressive symptoms, and adolescent depressive symptoms. Childhood conduct problems were not associated with adolescent depressive symptoms, above and beyond irritability symptoms and anxiety/depressive symptoms.
Results suggest evidence for two distinct developmental pathways to adolescent depressive symptoms that involve specific early and midchildhood features.
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