Treatment of maternal depression enhances their kids behavior and if the mothers don't get better, these kids' problems also worsens, says study.
"If you treat the mother when she is depressed and don't even go through the process of treating the children of these mothers, they still get better as their mothers get better," said Madhukar Trivedi, professor of psychiatry at UT Southwestern and a co-author of the study.
"While the effect in the short term is clearly robust, the bigger issue is that this effect is long-lasting," he said.
Moms and their children were followed as part of the nation's largest multisite clinical trial on treatments for depression, begun in fall 1999.
The latest findings also showed that children's improvement, in terms of both depressive symptoms and social functioning, was related to the time it took their mothers to get better.
Children whose mothers remitted - or recovered from all depressive symptoms - early within the first three months of treatment continued to show improvements in both symptoms and social functioning more than a year later.
If their mothers' remission took longer than three months, children a year later showed improvement in depressive symptoms, but not as much in social functioning.
The study was published recently in the American Journal of Psychiatry.