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The Children at High and Low Risk for Depression study is multigenerational and longitudinal. The study design is a retrospective cohort. The study has completed 5 waves of assessments between 1982 and 2009. The sample now includes 3 generations grandparents (G1), parents (G2), and grandchildren (G3) and consists of families at high or low risk for depression based on the depression status of the original sample (G1). G2 and G3 from high as compared to low risk families are at a 2-5 fold increase in risk for depression, anxiety and other disorders.

The G1 sample derives from the Yale Family Study of Depression (Weissman et al, 1984). One or more of the parents from the depressed families had received treatment for depression. The non-depressed families derived from a community study in New Haven, Connecticut (Weissman & Myers, 1978) and reported no history of treatment or psychiatric illness.

The primary aim of the study has been to obtain data that would aid in the prevention of depression. When originated the intent of the study was to collect data on the contribution of family-genetic risk factors in the development of psychiatric disorders in children; on early, preclinical signs of psychiatric disorders; on the expression of depressive disorders and symptom patterns in children; the impact of parental depression in children; and the relationship between family patterns such as parents’ marital status and family interactions and depression in children. Over the years and subsequent waves psychophysiologic measurements (e.g. startle response, EEG), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) data, and DNA samples were collected.


Funded by National Institute of Mental Health Grant: MH36197 NYSPI Div of Epidemiology ©Copyright 2016