The Combined Impact of Maternal Major Depressive Disorder and Individual Major Depressive Disorder Results in Increased Amounts of Dependent Stress
Stress generation is an idea explaining how symptoms of depression contribute to the occurrence of additional stress in an individual's life (Hammen 1991). Increased amounts of dependent stress can occur in individuals with current or past depression (Alloy 2010). Children of mothers with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are at a higher risk of depression and also have increased amounts of stress generation (Feurer et al. 2016). This study identifies the combined impact of individual and maternal MDD on dependent episodic stress. Participants were 228 mothers and their 8–14-year-old children. Diagnostic interviewers assessed mothers’ and children’s histories of MDD. Six months later, children’s levels of dependent stress within that period were assessed. Analyses revealed that offspring with a personal history of MDD, whose mother had MDD, had higher levels of stress generation, suggesting both may increase children’s risk for contributing to the occurrence of additional stress in their lives, which could further increase risk.