Project Details

Research Cluster: CEBI
Start Date: 01.01.2013
End Date: 31.12.2014

Psychosocial resilience in adolescent offspring of mothers with depression: testing causal mechanisms

DSPI Principal Investigator: Professor Frances Gardner
Funded by: Economic & Social Research Council

Principle investigator: Dr Stephan Collishaw (Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences)

Maternal depression is common and can have a major impact on the whole family. The study objective is to understand why some children and adolescents of depressed mothers show better than expected developmental outcomes, while others develop serious and enduring psychological problems such as depression or antisocial behaviour.

This project makes use of two complementary datasets - a population cohort of parents and children recruited in pregnancy (ALSPAC, N=14,541), and a sample of parents with recurrent clinical depression (EPAD, N=337). Both studies have followed parents and their children as they grow older. This means that analyses can begin to disentangle underlying causal processes  by testing how change in young people's mental health is related to change in factors thought to promote resilience (and vice versa). Multiple spheres of influence on adolescent development will be considered, including family, child and peer factors.

The study will examine long-term protective effects, as well as change in well-being such as recovery from earlier emotional or behavioural problems. The study also aims to identify ‘risk buffers’ especially important in the context of maternal depression, and it will examine whether processes explaining resilience differ for boys and girls.