Changes in Children's Behavior and Costs for Service Use Associated With Parents' Response to Treatment for Dysthymia
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OBJECTIVE: This study examined differences in children's behavior and expenditures for health and social services used when their parents with dysthymia did or did not respond to antidepressant therapy. METHOD: Children ages 4 to 16 years of consenting parents enrolled in a treatment trial for dysthymia who did and did not respond to treatment were compared at baseline and 24 months. The responder was a parent with at least a 40% reduction in his or her baseline depressive symptoms using the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale. Children's behavior was measured using the Child Behavior Checklist, and expenditures for health and social services use was measured in Canadian dollars using the Health and Social Service Utilization Questionnaire. RESULTS: Children of parents with dysthymia who responded to treatment had significantly greater reductions in emotional symptoms at 2-year follow-up than children of nonresponders, along with an economically important (not statistically significant) reduction in expenditures for health and social services use. CONCLUSIONS: Reductions in parental symptoms of dysthymia may be associated with reductions in childhood behavioral problems and in expenditures for the child's use of services.
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