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BACKGROUND: Episodes of depression and anxiety (D&A) during the transition from late adolescence to adulthood, particularly when persistent, are predictive of long-term disorders and associated public health burden. Understanding risk factors at this time is important to guide intervention. The current objective was to investigate the associations between maternal symptoms of D&A with offspring symptoms during their transition to adulthood. METHOD: Data from a large population-based birth cohort study, in South Brazil, were used. Prospective associations between maternal D&A and offspring risk of these symptoms during the transition to adulthood (18/19, 24 and 30 years) were estimated. RESULTS: Maternal D&A in adolescence was associated with offspring symptoms across the transition to adulthood, associations were consistently stronger for females than for males. Daughters whose mothers reported D&A were 4.6 times (95% confidence interval 2.71-7.84) as likely to report D&A at all three time-points, than daughters of symptom-free mothers. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal D&A is associated with persistent D&A during the daughter's transition to adulthood. Intervention strategies should consider the mother's mental health.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychol Med

Publication Date





415 - 424


Cohort study, common mental disorder, intergenerational, mental health, offspring, Adolescent, Adult, Anxiety, Brazil, Child of Impaired Parents, Cohort Studies, Depression, Female, Human Development, Humans, Male, Mothers, Prospective Studies, Sex Factors, Young Adult