The children of schizophrenic women may have more to worry about than developing schizophrenia. Research conducted by the Swedish High-Risk Project, a 22-year study of schizophrenic mothers and their offspring, suggests that these kids are more likely than other children to develop mental health problems such as depression and anxiety during young adulthood.
In the study the children of 28 schizophrenic women showed that 89 percent of the children displayed symptoms of at least one mental health disorder. This rate is 13 times that of children of mothers without the disorder, according to lead author Erland W. Schubert, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of psychiatric epidemiology at Lund University in Sweden.
Among the children with schizophrenic mothers, 40 percent had symptoms of depression compared with only 12 percent in the control group. Schubert and his colleagues suggest that depression and other mental disorders may act as precursors to the onset of schizophrenia. The investigators hope that by studying children with schizophrenic parents they might identify early warning signs of the disorder that will allow for earlier treatment.