According to a series of studies there may be a link between recent rise of depression rates and the increase of daily stress.
Now, the researchers from Concordia University are looking forward to find the link between childhood stress and the development of clinical depression and bipolar disorder.
"What is especially alarming is that depression in young people is increasing in successive generations. People are suffering from depression earlier in life and more people are getting it.
We want to know why and how. We believe that stress is a major contributor," said principal researcher Mark Ellenbogen, a professor at the Concordia Centre for Research in Human Development.
His team is evaluating the stress of children who are living in families where one parent is affected by a mood disorder.
"Previous studies have shown that kids from at-risk families are at higher risk of having a psychiatric disorder in their lifetime," says Ellenbogen.
"We know that they're not just inheriting these traits but they are also being raised in environment that is stressful, chaotic and lacking in structure. Our goal is to tease out how this type of environment influences these children's mental health in adolescence and adulthood," he explained further.
Ellenbogen's recent findings have shown that the adolescent offspring of at-risk families have higher salivary cortisol levels than kids from families without disorders.
"We have some exciting preliminary data showing that high cortisol levels in adolescences doubles your risk for developing a serious mood disorder in young adulthood," he concluded.