Prevalence of psychopathology in children of parents with mental illness and/or addiction: an up to date narrative review

Sophie Leijdesdorff*, Karin van Doesum, Arne Popma, Rianne Klaassen, Therese van Amelsvoort

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Children of parents with a mental illness and/or addiction are at high risk for developing a mental illness themselves. Parental mental illness is highly prevalent leading to a serious number of children at high risk. The aim of this review is to give an up-to-date overview of psychopathology in children of parents with various mental illnesses and/or addiction, based on recent literature.

Recent findings

Worldwide, 15-23% of children live with a parent with a mental illness. These children have up to 50% chance of developing a mental illness. Parental anxiety disorder sets children at a more specific risk for developing anxiety disorder themselves, where children of parents with other mental illnesses are at high risk of a large variety of mental illnesses. Although preventive interventions in children of mentally ill parents may decrease the risk of problem development by 40%; currently, these children are not automatically identified and offered help.

Summary

This knowledge should encourage mental health services to address the needs of these children which requires strong collaboration between Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services and Adult Mental Health Services. Directions for further research would be to include both parents, allow for comorbidity and to look deeper into a broader variety of mental illnesses such as autism and personality disorder other than borderline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-317
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychiatry
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • psychopathology
  • offspring
  • parental mental illness
  • children
  • prevalence
  • BORDERLINE PERSONALITY-DISORDER
  • BIPOLAR DISORDER
  • PSYCHIATRIC OUTCOMES
  • MATERNAL DEPRESSION
  • PROSPECTIVE COHORT
  • MAJOR DEPRESSION
  • HEALTH-SERVICES
  • ILL PARENTS
  • FOLLOW-UP
  • RISK

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