Researchers at VCU and Lund University in Sweden say transmission of risk factors for major depression is equal parts genetic and child-rearing.
VCU Professor of Psychiatry Dr. Kenneth Kendler says genetics count, but so does child-rearing. “We know that many people are depressed year-round. Another fact that we have known for a long time about depression that it tends to run in families. The major focus of this study is trying to understand why parents with depression tend to have children that also suffer from the same condition.”
His says the surprising finding is that transmission of depression from adoptive parents is just as strong as it is for biological parents, and it contradicts earlier studies that put more emphasis on genetics.
He says it’s important because we can’t intervene in genetics, but can learn how to minimize the risk of parents transmitting depression to their children.