Original article| Volume 60, ISSUE 9, P957-965, November 01, 2006

Neuropsychological Functioning in Adolescent Children of Mothers with a History of Bipolar or Major Depressive Disorders


      Growing evidence demonstrates an association of neuropsychological deficits with mood disorders, but it is not yet clear whether these deficits are risk factors or are concomitant with the symptoms. This study examines the neuropsychological functioning of a group of adolescent offspring who are at risk for a mood disorder by virtue of being raised by mothers who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder (BPD).


      Adolescent offspring of mothers with BPD (n = 43) or MDD (n = 72) and of psychiatrically well parents (n = 50) completed a battery of neuropsychological tests to assess executive functioning, memory, and attention.


      Children of mothers with BPD showed deficits in executive functioning and selective deficits in spatial memory and attention, in comparison with children of well mothers. Deficits were not found for children of MDD mothers.


      Knowledge of these neurocognitive processes could aid ultimately in determining whether neurocognitive deficits precede BPD, whether unique profiles are associated with various types of mood disorders, and who may benefit from interventions.

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