Influence of Parental Concordance for Psychiatric Disorders on Psychopathology in Offspring
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OBJECTIVE: To examine the influence of parental mating types for substance abuse and anxiety/affective disorders on the risk of psychopathology among child and adolescent offspring. METHOD: Emotional and behavioral disorders were assessed in offspring, aged 7 to 17 years, of male and female parents who served as probands from a family study of comorbidity of substance abuse and anxiety disorders. RESULTS: The findings indicated that (1) patterns of psychopathology among offspring were similar for mothers and fathers; (2) spouse concordance for psychopathology was greater among parents with substance abuse than among those with anxiety, particularly among female substance abusers; (3) there was a direct relationship between the number of affected parents and the magnitude of psychopathology in children, particularly with respect to the anxiety disorders; and (4) by contrast, rates of conduct disorder were elevated only among offspring of dually affected parents, irrespective of the specific parental disorders. CONCLUSIONS: These findings underscore the importance of the contribution of both mothers and fathers, particularly those with concordance for psychiatric disorders, to the development of psychopathology in offspring.
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