Neuropsychological Functioning in Adolescent Children of Mothers with a History of Bipolar or Major Depressive Disorders

Bonnie Klimes-Dougan, Donna Ronsaville, Edythe A. Wiggs, Pedro E. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Background: Growing evidence demonstrates an association of neuropsychological deficits with mood disorders, but it is not yet clear whether these deficits are risk factors or are concomitant with the symptoms. This study examines the neuropsychological functioning of a group of adolescent offspring who are at risk for a mood disorder by virtue of being raised by mothers who have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder (BPD). Methods: Adolescent offspring of mothers with BPD (n = 43) or MDD (n = 72) and of psychiatrically well parents (n = 50) completed a battery of neuropsychological tests to assess executive functioning, memory, and attention. Results: Children of mothers with BPD showed deficits in executive functioning and selective deficits in spatial memory and attention, in comparison with children of well mothers. Deficits were not found for children of MDD mothers. Conclusions: Knowledge of these neurocognitive processes could aid ultimately in determining whether neurocognitive deficits precede BPD, whether unique profiles are associated with various types of mood disorders, and who may benefit from interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)957-965
Number of pages9
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Preparation of this manuscript was supported by the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Adolescent
  • attention
  • bipolar disorder
  • executive functioning
  • major depression
  • memory

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