CLINICS

Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2011 May; 66(5): 725-730.
doi:10.1590/S1807-59322011000500003

Copyright © 2011 Hospital das Clínicas da FMUSP

Lifetime psychopathology among the offspring of Bipolar I parents

Marcelo C Zappitelli I , Isabel A Bordin I , John P Hatch II , Sheila C Caetano III , Giovana Zunta-Soares IV , Rene L Olvera V , Jair C Soares IV

Department of Psychiatry, Federal University of So Paulo, So Paulo, Brazil.

Departments of Psychiatry and Orthodontics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.

Department of Psychiatry, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de So Paulo, So Paulo, SP, Brazil.

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston TX, USA.

Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX, USA.

E-mail: jair.c.soares@uth.tmc.edu Tel.: 713 500-2507

received January 14, 2011; revised January 20, 2011; accepted January 20, 2011.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent studies have demonstrated high rates of psychopathology in the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder. The aim of this study was to identify psychiatric diagnoses in a sample of children of bipolar parents.

METHOD:

This case series comprised 35 children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 years, with a mean age of 12.5±2.9 years (20 males and 15 females), who had at least one parent with bipolar disorder type I. The subjects were assessed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children – Present and Lifetime version (K-SADS-PL). Family psychiatric history and demographics were also evaluated.

RESULTS:

Of the offspring studied, 71.4% had a lifetime diagnosis of at least one psychiatric disorder (28.6% with a mood disorder, 40% with a disruptive behavior disorder and 20% with an anxiety disorder). Pure mood disorders (11.4%) occurred less frequently than mood disorders comorbid with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (17.1%). Psychopathology was commonly reported in second-degree relatives of the offspring of parents with bipolar disorder (71.4%).

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results support previous findings of an increased risk for developing psychopathology, predominantly mood and disruptive disorders, in the offspring of bipolar individuals. Prospective studies with larger samples are needed to confirm and expand these results.

Keywords: Bipolar Disorder, Offspring, Psychopathology, Child, Adolescent


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