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Depression in Parents Leads to ‘Anti-Social’ Kids: Study

Researchers have hit upon another angle of depression — that parents who undergo depression can lead to offsprings who are prone to breaking rules and law and indulge in substance usage.

Eva Telzer from the University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said, “There are a lot of changes happening in the teenage years, especially when we are thinking about risk-taking behaviours.”

Lead author Yang Qu said even those who are not clinically depressed and seeking out help warns such parents that their teenager may be probably picking up the negative emotions parents are experiencing and is undergoing rebellious mood swings.

“This is the first evidence to show that parental depression influences children’s behaviour through the change in the adolescent’s brain,” he said.

The team analyzed 23 adolescents aged 15 to 17, with cognitive testing and brain imaging for 18-month period. They collected data from the parents on their own depressive symptoms and also those who were not currently being treated for clinical depression.

They collected information on the adolescents’ rule-breaking behaviours, such as sneaking out without parental permission, substance abuse and partying and their findings revealed that adolescents whose parents had greater depressive symptoms increased their risk-taking behaviour.

The study was published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

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