Remission Of Maternal Depression And Child Symptoms Among Single Mothers: A Star*d-child Report

Talati, Ardesheer; Wickramaratne, Priya J.; Pilowsky, Daniel J.; Alpert, Jonathan E; Cerda, Gabriele; Garber, Judy; Hughes, Carroll W; King, Cheryl A.; Malloy, Erin; Sood, A Bela; Verdeli, Helen; Trivedi, Madhukar H.; Rush, A John; Weissman, Myrna M.

Objective: Offspring of depressed parents are at increased risk for depressive and other disorders. We recently found that when depressed mothers reached full remission over 3 months of treatment, a significant improvement in the children’s disorders occurred. Since only a third of the mothers remitted, factors related to maternal remission rates, and thereby child outcomes, were important. This report examined the relationship of the presence of a father in the household to maternal depression remission and child outcomes.

Method: Maternal depression was measured using the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD17); social functioning was assessed using the Social Adjustment Scale-Self Report (SAS-SR). Children (age 7–17) were assessed independently, blind to maternal outcome, using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (K-SADS-PL) and the Child Global Assessment Scale (C-GAS).

Results: Single mothers (n = 50), as compared to those in two-parent households (n = 61), were more likely to discontinue treatment (31% vs. 16%, P = 0.04), and less likely to remit if they remained in treatment (20% vs. 43%, P = 0.013). These differences remained significant after adjusting for socioeconomic status and potential confounders, but were partially explained by the mother’s pre-treatment social functioning. The reduction in child diagnoses following maternal remission was greater in two-parent than in single-parent households, although a formal test of interaction between the odds ratios was not significant.

Conclusion: Single depressed mothers are more likely to drop out of treatment, and less likely to reach remission if they stay in treatment. This high-risk group requires vigorous treatment approaches.


  • thumnail for Talati et al. - 2007 - Remission of maternal depression and child symptom.pdf Talati et al. - 2007 - Remission of maternal depression and child symptom.pdf application/pdf 138 KB Download File

Also Published In

Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
February 1, 2022