Parental Mental Disorders Linked to Work Disabilities in Offspring

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The pathway between parental mental disorders and an offspring's work disability is significantly mediated by offspring mental disorders and social disadvantage in adolescence.
The pathway between parental mental disorders and an offspring's work disability is significantly mediated by offspring mental disorders and social disadvantage in adolescence.

The pathway between parental mental disorders and an offspring's work disability due to depressive or anxiety disorder is significantly mediated by offspring mental disorders and social disadvantage in adolescence, according to a study recently published in Depression and Anxiety.

Parental mental health disorders have been shown to predict offspring's mental health problems, but the nature and extent of this association remained unknown. Investigators sought to examine whether this pathway is mediated by offspring mental disorders and/or social disadvantage in adolescence. 

Investigators conducted a population study using the 1987 Finnish Birth Cohort. They used national administrative registers to determine parental psychiatric care or work disability due to mental diagnosis from 1987 to 2000 and cohort individuals' health and social factors from 2001 to 2005.

A total of 52,182 cohort participants' admittance of psychiatric work disability due to depressive or anxiety disorders was tracked from 2006 to 2015. Investigators used pathway analysis to determine the occurrence of different paths then assessed the extent to which the relationship between parental mental disorders and work disability was mediated by offspring mental disorders and social disadvantage in adolescence.

The total effect of parental mental disorders on offspring psychiatric work disability was reflected by an odds ratio of 1.85 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.46-2.34). The offspring's mental disorders mediated this relationship by 35%. Similarly, the odds ratio and percent mediation were 1.86 (95% CI, 1.47-2.35) and 28%, respectively, for social disadvantage in adolescence.

The findings of this study indicate a need for mental health and social circumstance support in adolescence to address the intergenerational determination of work disability due to mental disorders.

Reference

Halonen JI, Merikukka M, Gissler M, et al. Pathways from parental mental disorders to offspring's work disability due to depressive or anxiety disorders in early adulthood—The 1987 Finnish Birth Cohort [published online October 17, 2018]. Depress Anxiety. doi: 10.1002/da.22847

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