European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 87–95 | Cite as

Does maternal psychopathology discriminate between children with DSM-IV generalised anxiety disorder or oppositional defiant disorder? The predictive validity of maternal axis I and axis II psychopathology

  • Hans M. Nordahl
  • Jo Magne Ingul
  • Hilmar Nordvik
  • Adrian Wells


What dimensions of maternal psychopathology predict internalising or externalising disorder in children? We conducted a study of maternal axis I and axis II psychopathology in a group of children 8–12 years of age with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and non-patient controls (NC). By using Multigroup Discriminant Analyses (MDA) on three groups of children (N = 85) and measures of axis I and axis II psychopathology of their mothers, we attempted to discriminate between these groups on a data driven basis. Two separate MDA were computed, one based on maternal axis I disorders, and one based on maternal axis II disorders. The results demonstrated that maternal symptomatic and personality psychopathology was differentially related to childhood anxiety or behavioural disorders. Mothers of children with ODD were characterised by more negative emotions and detached personality styles, whereas mothers of children with GAD seemed to be more somatic preoccupied, controlling and over-protective.


Generalised Anxiety Disorder Oppositional Defiant Disorder maternal psychopathology 


  1. 1.
    American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th ed. American Psychiatric Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Berg-Nielsen TS, Vikan A, Dahl AA (2002) Parenting related to child and parental psychopathology: a descriptive review of the literature. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry 7:529–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Beidel DC, Turner SM (1997) At risk for anxiety: psychopathology in the offspring of anxious parents. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36:918–924PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Biederman J, Faraone SV, Hirshfeld-Becker DR, Friedman D, Robin JA, et al. (2001) Patterns of psychopathology and dysfunction in high-risk children of parents with panic disorder and major depression. Am J Psychiatry 158:49–57PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bowlby J (1973) Attachment and loss: attachment. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Carter JD, Joyce PR, Mulder RT, Luty SE, Sullivan PF (1999) Early deficient parenting in depressed outpatients is associated with personality dysfunction and not with depression subtypes. J Affect Disord 54:29–37PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Campbell SB, Breaux AM, Ewing LJ, Szumowski EK (1986) Correlates and predictors of hyperactivity and aggression: a longitudinal study of parent-referred problem preschoolers. J Abnorm Child Psychol 14:217–234PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Choca JP, Shanley LA, Van Denburg E (1996) Interpretive guide to the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory, 2nd edn. APA press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Connel AM, Goodman SH (2002) The association between psychopathology in fathers versus mothers and children’s internalising and externalising behaviour problems: a meta-analysis. Psychol Bull 128:746–773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dix T (1991) The affective organisation of parenting: adaptive and maladaptive processes. Psychol Bull 110:3–25PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dyer FJ (1997) Application of the Millon Inventories in forensic psychology. In: Millon T (ed) The Millon Inventories: clinical and personality assessment, New York, Guilford, pp 124–139Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eaves LJ, Silberg JL, Meyer JM, Maes HH, Simonoff E, Pickles A, Rutter M, Neale MC, Reynolds CA, Erikson MT, Heath AC, Loeber R, Truett KR, Hewitt JK (1997) Genetics and developmental psychopathology: 2. The main effects of genes and environment on behavioural problems in the Virginia Twin Study of Adolescent Behavioural Development. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 38:965–980PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Evans J, Le Grange D (1995) Body size and parenting in eating disorders: a comparative study of the attitudes of the mothers towards their children. Int J Eat Disord 18:39–48PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Frick PJ, Lahey BB, Loeber R, Stouthamer-Loeber M, Christ MA, Hanson K (1992) Familial risk factors to oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder: parental psychopathology and maternal parenting. J Consult Clin Psychol 60:49–55PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Goodman SH, Adamson LB, Riniti J, Cole S (1994) Mothers’ expressed attitudes: associations with maternal depression and children’s self-esteem and psychopathology. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 33:1265–1274PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Green AH (1993) Child sexual abuse: immediate and long-term effects and intervention. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 32:890–902PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hirschfeld DR, Biederman J, Brody L, Faraone SV, Rosenbaum JF (1997) Expressed emotion toward children with behavioural inhibition: associations with maternal anxiety disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 36:910–917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hudson JL, Rapee RM (2001) Parent-child interactions and the anxiety disorders: an observational analysis. Behav Res Ther 39:31–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jones P, Rodgers B, Murray R, Marmot M (1994) Child developmental risk factors for adult schizophrenia in the British 1946 cohort. Lancet 344:1398–1402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kendler KS, Sham PC, MacLean CJ (1997) The determinants of parenting: an epidemiological, multi-informant retrospective study. Psychol Med 27:549–563PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kochanska G, Clark LA, Goldman MS (1997) Implications of mothers’ personality for their parenting and their young children’s developmental outcomes. J Pers 65:387–420PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kuperman S, Schlosser SS, Lidral J, Reich W (1999) Relationship of child psychopathology to parental alcoholism and anti-social personality disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 38:686–692PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lahey BB, Russo MF, Walker JL, Piacentini JC (1989) Personality characteristics of the mothers of children with disruptive behavior disorders. J Consult Clin Psychol 57:512–515PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Lamb ME (1997) The role of the father in child development, 3rd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Legrand LN, McGue M, Iacono WG (1999) A twin study of state and trait anxiety in childhood and adolescence. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 40:953–962PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Lieb R, Wittchen HU, Hofler M, Fuetsch M, Stein M, Merinkangas KR (2000) Parental psychopathology, parenting styles, and the risk of Social phobia in offspring. Arch Gen Psychiatry 57:859–866PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Merinkangas KR, Avenevoli S, Dierker L, Grillon C (1999) Vulnerability factors among children at risk for anxiety disorders. Biol Psychiatry 46:1523–1535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Millon T (1987) Millon Multiaxial Clinical Inventory-II manual. National Computer Systems, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Nordahl HM, Stiles TC (1997) Perceptions of parental bonding in patients with various personality disorders, lifetime depressive disorders, and healthy controls. J Personal Disord 11:391–402PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    O’Connor MJ, Sigman M, Kasari C (1993) Interactional model for the association among maternal alcohol use, mother-infant interaction, and infant cognitive development. Infant Behav Dev 16:177–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pfiffer L, McBurnett K, Rathouz PJ (2001) Father absence and familial antisocial characteristics. J Abnorm Child Psychol 29:357–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Phares V, Compas BE (1992) The role of fathers in child and adolescent psychopathology: make room for daddy. Psychol Bull 111:387–412PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Rey MJ (1993) Oppositional defiant disorder. Am J Psychiatry 150:1769–1778PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Rutter M, Quinton D (1984) Parental psychiatric disorder: effects on children. Psychol Med 14:853–880PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Sansbury LL, Wahler TG (1992) Pathways to maladaptive parenting with mothers and their conduct disordered children. Behav Modif 16:574–592PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Seifer R, Sameroff AJ, Dickstein S, Gitner G, Miller I, Rasmussen S (1996) Parental psychopathology, multiple contextual risks and one-year outcomes in children. J Clin Child Psychol 25:423–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sroufe LA, Egeland B, Kreutzer T (1990) The fate of early experience following developmental change: longitudinal approaches to individual adaption in childhood. Child Dev 61:1363–1373PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Tabachnick BG, Fidell LS (2001) Using multivariate statistics, 4th edn. Allyn and Bacon, Needham HeightsGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Turner SM, Beidel DC, Costello A (1987) Psychopathology in the offspring of anxiety disorder patients. J Consult Clin Psychopathol 55:229–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Webster-Stratton C, Hammond M (1999) Marital conflict management skills, parenting style, and early onset conduct problems: processes and pathways. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 40:917–927PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Weiss M, Zelkowitz P, Feldman RB, Vogel J, Heyman M, Paris J (1996) Psychopathology in offspring of mothers with Borderline personality disorder: a pilot study. Can J Psychiatry 41:285–290PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans M. Nordahl
    • 1
  • Jo Magne Ingul
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hilmar Nordvik
    • 1
  • Adrian Wells
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNTNUTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryLevanger HospitalNorway
  3. 3.Academic Division of Clinical PsychologyUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

Personalised recommendations