Offspring of mothers diagnosed with an affective illness are at increased risk for developing an affective spectrum disorder. The overarching goal of the present study is to investigate whether individual differences in cognition and personality among at-risk offspring promote or prevent the development of affective symptomatology in adolescence and young adulthood. Participants included siblings drawn from 98 families participating in a longitudinal study of the offspring of depressed mothers (Radke-Yarrow, 1998). Forty-two of the mothers in the study were diagnosed with unipolar depression, 26 with bipolar disorder I or II, and 30 were healthy comparisons. Ratings of offspring personality, cognitive style, and psychopathology were obtained from multiple measures across two time points in adolescence and young adulthood. History of a maternal affective disorder and offspring Neuroticism independently predicted elevated depressive symptoms in adolescence, while high Neuroticism and Extraversion predicted offspring mania. Offspring Neuroticism interacted with maternal diagnosis to predict risk for depression in young adulthood. Lower-order traits comprising Neuroticism showed unique associations with offspring affective symptoms both concurrently and prospectively. Overall, findings suggest that high Neuroticism is associated with increased risk for depressive and manic symptoms in adolescence and young adulthood, and this effect may be partially moderated by maternal psychopathology.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2016. Major: Child Psychology. Advisors: Dante Cicchetti, Bonnie Klimes-Dougan. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 101 pages.
Personality and Psychopathology in Offspring of Mothers Diagnosed with Affective Illness.
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