Theses Doctoral

The Temperament - Psychopathology Link: How Does Difficult Temperament Predict Risk for and Presentation of Major Depression Among Offspring at High and Low Risk for Depression

Sherman, Brian

The current study examined the relationships between parental depression, offspring depression, and offspring temperament among 203 offspring at high or low-risk for depression. Offspring were followed over a 20-year study period. Two primary study aims were addressed. First, we sought to confirm that parental depression predicts offspring lifetime depression and offspring difficult temperament, and that offspring difficult temperament predicts offspring major depression, while adjusting for family effect. Second, we sought to examine the pathoplasty model of the relationship between temperament and psychopathology by examining how offspring difficult temperament affects qualitative features of major depression - specifically, frequency, severity, and duration. Results indicate that high-risk offspring have more difficult temperament and are four times more likely to have lifetime major depressive disorder (MDD) than low-risk offspring. In addition, offspring with a difficult temperament are twice as likely to have lifetime MDD than low-risk offspring. Results from aim 2 revealed that difficult temperament predicts greater frequency of lifetime MDEs, but not severity or duration. Finally, individual dimensions of temperament were uniquely associated with frequency, severity, and duration of major depressive episodes differentially across risk groups. Implications and future research directions are discussed.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Clinical Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Verdeli, Helen
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 28, 2013