Parents who are experiencing a bout of depression, mania or another disorder of mood are more likely to believe and report that their children are behaving psychopathologically, according to a study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
A team of researchers mainly from the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine studied and surveyed 65 parents diagnosed with current depression, 42 parents diagnosed with current mania/hypomania, 181 parents diagnosed with a mood disorder in remission, and their 479 offspring aged 6–18 years.
They determined that the rates of psychopathology in the children were generally fairly similar across the groups. However, they found that “parents with current depression reported significantly more externalizing psychopathology in offspring” and “parents with current mania/hypomania reported more externalizing and internalizing psychopathology in their offspring” when compared to the rates reported by parents in remission states. In some cases, youth self-reporting of psychopathology also increased when their parents were currently experiencing mania/hypomania.
“Parental active mood symptomatology, especially during a manic/hypomanic episode, significantly affects their reports of their offspring’s psychopathology,” concluded the researchers. “Clinicians and studies assessing children’s psychopathology should take into account parental current mood state.”
The Effects of Parental Mood on Reports of Their Children’s Psychopathology (Maoz, Hagai et al. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. August 8, 2014 doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.07.005