A cross-sectional family members study published in JAMA Network Open identified mother-daughter transference of the mother’s anxiousness disorder to daughters, suggesting an environmental mechanism.
The Families Overcoming Risks and Building Opportunities for Well-becoming (FORBOW) study was performed in Canada amongst 2013 and 2020. Families that had a parent with a mood disorder and at least 1 offspring aged 21 years and younger have been evaluated for similar- or opposite-sex co-occurrence of anxiousness issues in parent and offspring. Data have been collected applying semistructured interviews.
The participating offspring (N=398) comprised 203 girls or ladies aged imply 11.1 (SD, 3.7) years and 195 boys or guys aged imply 10.6 (SD, 3.1) years. A total of 88.4% have been White. Mothers (221) aged imply 39.8 (SD, 6.2) years and fathers (172) aged imply 42. (SD, 7.1) years participated in this study.
Among the mothers, 45.7% had 1 or more anxiousness issues, 42.1% have been diagnosed with main depressive disorder (MDD), 20.4% with bipolar disorder (BD), and 5.% with schizophrenia. For the fathers, 24.4% had MDD, 23.3% had anxiousness issues, 9.9% had BP, and 4.1% had schizophrenia.
Among the offspring, 27.1% had anxiousness issues, the prices of which improved with age from 14.1% in youngsters aged <9 years to 51.8% in adolescents aged >15 years. Rates of anxiousness issues have been comparable amongst boys and guys (24.1%) and girls and ladies (30.1%). Rates of anxiousness have been decrease in the offspring of parents without the need of an anxiousness disorder (23.7%) compared with the offspring of 1 parent with an anxiousness disorder (28.1%) or each parents with an anxiousness disorder (41.4%).
The likelihood of an offspring possessing an anxiousness disorder improved with the quantity of parental anxiousness diagnoses (odds ratio [OR], 2.22 95% CI, 1.38-3.57 P =.001).
For other parental diagnoses, offspring anxiousness prices have been lowest for parental schizophrenia (6.3%) and highest for parental BP (36.%). Overall, the likelihood of an offspring possessing an anxiousness disorder improved with the quantity of parental mood issues (OR, 1.75 95% CI, 1.11-2.74 P =.02).
Among the subset of youngsters (n=299) who had each parents participating, offspring anxiousness was more most likely if their similar-sex parent had anxiousness (OR, 2.85 95% CI, 1.52-5.34 P =.001) but not if their opposite-sex parent had anxiousness (OR, 1.51 95% CI, .81-2.81 P =.20).
This trend was only substantial for mother-daughter (OR, 3.30 95% CI, 1.43-7.59 P =.005) but not father-son (OR, 2.18 95% CI, .89-5.33 P =.09) pairs. Similarly, a similar-sex parent without the need of anxiousness decreased danger for offspring anxiousness (OR, .38 95% CI, .22-.67 P =.001) but, the similar trend was not observed for opposite-sex pairs (OR, .96 95% CI, .56-1.63 P =.88).
The main limitation of this study was the young age of youngsters, as anxiousness issues have a tendency to be diagnosed at older ages.
The study authors concluded, “This study’s findings suggest that the intergenerational transmission of anxiety disorders is largely accounted for by the transmission from the same-sex parent. Treating parents with anxiety disorders may protect their offspring, especially their same-sex offspring, from developing an anxiety disorder regardless of parental mood disorder.”
Pavlova B, Bagnell A, Cumby J, et al. Sex-specific transmission of anxiety disorders from parents to offspring. JAMA Netw Open. 20225(7):e2220919. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.20919