Early exposure to parental bipolar illness and risk of mood disorder
Doucette, Sarah Margaret
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The objective of this thesis was to determine the association between exposure to parental BD during childhood and risk of mood disorder. Offspring of one parent with BD completed annual clinical assessments as part of a 16-year prospective cohort study. Clinical data in the parents from Ottawa and Halifax were mapped onto the first decade of their offspring’s life to estimate the timing, duration and severity of exposure to their illness. The duration of parental BD was associated with a 2 to 2.5 fold increased risk of any psychopathology (HR: 1.9, 95%CI: 1.0-4.0), and unipolar depression (HR: 2.6, 95%CI: 0.9-7.5), and a 7 fold increased risk of substance use disorders (HR: 7.1, 95%CI: 1.8-37.0). A longer duration of exposure to parental BD may be an important indicator of mood and non-mood psychopathology risk in offspring. This has implications for early intervention and preventive efforts in high-risk youth.