Grandparental anxiety and depression predict young children's internalizing and externalizing problems. The generation R study
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Background: Family history is a major risk factor for child problem behaviour, yet few studies have examined the association between grandparental psychiatric disorder and child problem behaviour. Results are inconsistent as to whether the effect of grandparental depression on child problem behaviour is independent of parental psychopathology. Methods: Mothers and their children participated in an ethnically Dutch subcohort of a population-based prospective cohort in the Netherlands. N = 816 (66%) mothers and n = 691 fathers participated in the prenatal interviews. N = 687 (84%) mothers and children and n = 565 (82%) fathers participated three years postpartum. (Grand)parental psychopathology was assessed during pregnancy of the mothers with the Family Informant Schedule and Criteria (FISC), the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Child behaviour was assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) by mother and father when the child was three years old. Results: Grandparental anxiety disorder predicted maternal reports of children's internalizing problems (OR = 1.98, 95% C.I. (1.20, 3.28), p-value < 0.01) and externalizing problems (OR = 1.73, 95% C.I. (1.04, 2.87), p-value = 0.03), independent of parental psychopathology. Results were similar for grandparental depression; internalizing OR = 1.75, 95% C.I (1.11, 2.75), p-value = 0.02 and externalizing OR = 1.67, 95% C.I. (1.05, 2.64) p-value = 0.03. However, grandparental psychopathology was not associated with children's problem behaviour as reported by the father. Limitations: Information on grandparental lifetime psychiatric disorder was assessed through a parental interview which may have led to an underestimation of the prevalence rates. Conclusions: These results confirm the importance of a family history including not only the parental but also the grandparental generations.
- Family history
- Internalizing and externalizing behaviour problems
- Three-generational transmission