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Children of Depressed Parents

The Stress Context
  • Constance Hammen
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)

Abstract

In recent years, we have come to recognize the enormous toll that depression takes on peoples’ lives. In exploring the impact of this disorder, it has also become clear that depression affects the lives of others, and nowhere is this effect more apparent and dramatic than in families. Studies of children of depressed parents have grown in number and sophistication recently, and they all point to a common conclusion: Depression runs in families, and children of depressed parents are highly likely to experience depression and other forms of disorder and maladjustment. The extent of children’s impairment is striking, apparently equaling or even exceeding that of seemingly more severe parental disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar affective disorder. Although a genetic model often implicitly guided earlier studies of children’s risk, alternative approaches suggest a role for psychosocial factors in a diathesis—stress model: That children in families with a depressed parent are enormously stressed by the constellation of circumstances associated with their parents’ debilities, and many may lack the skills and resources that would be necessary to deal with such stress.

Keywords

Depressive Symptom Maternal Depression Major Depressive Episode Postpartum Depression Marital Conflict 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Constance Hammen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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