New research, featured online at present in the American Journal of Psychiatry, finds that children’s rearing environment has a significant impact on their risk for major depression later in life, and notes the importance supporting of nurturing environments when children are in danger.
In the study, the authors analyzed the health data of full and half-siblings with a minimum of one biological parent with depression who had been raised by either their biological parents or in carefully screened adoptive homes.
Often, the children in adopted homes confirmed lower risk, but regardless of the setting, episodes of major depression within the parents meant the kids had been more vulnerable to depression themselves.
In the full sibling group, the risk for major despair among adopted siblings was 23% lower than the sibling raised in the home with their birth household. In the group of half-siblings, the risk of depression was 19% lower for the adopted siblings. For the full as well as half-sibling groups, the protective effect of adoption disappeared when an adoptive guardian or step-sibling had the main depression.
The research authors conclude that their results “additional strengthen the evidence that prime-quality rearing environments can meaningfully reduce rates of major melancholy in individuals at high familial risk.” The analysis additionally “helps efforts to improve the rearing environment in high-risk households as a strategy to the primary prevention of main depression,” the authors note.