There is still limited evidence from prospective high-risk research on the evolution of specific disorders that may emerge early in the development of mood disorders. Moreover, few studies have examined the specificity of mood disorder subtypes among offspring of parents with both major subtypes of mood disorders and controls based on prospective tracking across the transition from childhood to adulthood. Our specific objectives were to (a) identify differences in patterns of psychopathological precursors among youth with (hypo)mania compared to MDD and (b) examine whether these patterns differ by subtypes of parental mood disorders.
Our data stem from a prospective cohort study of 449 directly interviewed offspring (51% female, mean age 10.1 years at study intake) of 88 patients with BPD, 71 with MDD, 30 with substance use disorders and 60 medical controls. The mean duration of follow-up was 13.2 years with evaluations conducted every three years.
Within the whole cohort of offspring, MDE (Hazard Ratio = 4.44; 95%CI: 2.19-9.02), CD (HR = 3.31;1.55-7.07) and DUD (HR = 2.54; 1.15-5.59) predicted the onset of (hypo)manic episodes, whereas MDD in offspring was predicted by SAD (HR = 1.53; 1.09-2.15), generalized anxiety (HR = 2.56; 1.05-6.24), and panic disorder (HR = 3.13; 1.06-9.23). The early predictors of (hypo)mania in the whole cohort were also significantly associated with the onset of (hypo)mania among the offspring of parents with BPD.
The onset of mood disorders is frequently preceded by identifiable depressive episodes and nonmood disorders. These precursors differed by mood subtype in offspring. High-risk offspring with these precursors should be closely monitored to prevent the further development of MDD or conversion to BPD.

© 2020 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.