Maternal depressive symptoms in pediatric major depressive disorder: Relationship to acute treatment outcome

Betsy D. Kennard, Jennifer L. Hughes, Sunita M. Stewart, Taryn Mayes, Jeanne Nightingale-Teresi, Rongrong Tao, Thomas Carmody, Graham J. Emslie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective: In the present study, we assess maternal depressive symptoms at the beginning and end of treatment to investigate the possible reciprocal relationship of maternal illness with the child's depressive illness and treatment. Method: We present data on 146 children and their mothers who were participating in a pediatric acute treatment study of fluoxetine. Patients were assessed with the Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised at baseline and at each treatment visit. Mothers completed the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology-Self Report at baseline and end of acute treatment. Results: Thirty percent of mothers had moderate to severe levels of depressive symptoms at the child's baseline assessment. Overall, mothers reported improvement in maternal depressive symptoms at the end of their child's acute treatment, although maternal depression was not specifically targeted for intervention. Furthermore, mother's depressive symptoms appear to be associated with the child's depression severity both at the beginning and end of treatment. Mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms had children with higher levels of depression severity at baseline and over the course of treatment. However, maternal depressive symptoms at baseline had no association with the rate of improvement of child depression severity. Conclusions: This study indicates a positive relationship between the depression severity of mothers and their children. These findings highlight potential areas of intervention in the acute treatment of childhood depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-699
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Acute treatment of pediatric depression
  • Maternal depressive symptoms
  • Pediatric depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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