Parent’s Depression and Its Relation to Adolescent Suicide Attempts

Christina Solomon, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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Abstract There is current research that shows the relation between parent psychopathology along with mental health outcomes in adolescents. This study examined the relationship between parents’ depression and adolescent suicide attempts. The hypothesis was that adolescents with multiple suicide attempts would have parents who are more depressed than adolescents with none or one suicide attempt. There were a total of 448 adolescents who were in a psychiatric hospital at a university or private facility. Age, race/ethnicity, and income of the sample are given. The results showed that there was not a strong relationship between parent depression and youth suicide attempts. Further research must be conducted to show the significance of parent depression on adolescent suicide attempts.

Introduction Parent’s psychopathology such as depression has been shown to relate to child psychopathology. According to the STAR*D Ancillary Study, having a depressed mother increases the likelihood of having a comorbid disorder among adolescents (Pilowsky et al., 2006). The mothers who were severely depressed had a 3-fold increase in the chance of having a child with depressive disorder. Among those adolescents, forty percent of children with a depressive disorder also had a concurrent diagnosis of anxiety disorder. Additionally 58 percent with a current anxiety disorder also had concurrence of disruptive behavior disorder (Pilowsky et al., 2006). Furthermore, parents’ depression, symptoms experienced directly such as withdrawal, hopelessness, and helplessness decreased the effectiveness of identifying adolescents’ depression. The lack of identifying evidential clues of adolescent depression can further lead to lower service use among those adolescents (Logan & King, 2001). Ultimately, this study showed that parents diagnosed with major depressive disorder were more likely to have children diagnosed with disruptive behavior, anxiety, panic, and depressive disorder.

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