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The transmission of depression from parent to child: a trans-generational study of attention and interpretation biases


Background                                                                    Children who grow up with a parent who suffers (or has suffered) from depression have an increased risk of developing depression themselves - around 50% of childen with a parent who has depression experience depression by the time they are 20 years old. Various biological, psychological, and social factors play a role in the transmission of depression from parents to their children. However, the mechanisms by which these factors interact are relatively understudied.

Research aim
The GENERAIN study investigates how biases in attention (the way images appear to us) and interpretation (the way we interpret events) are passed on from parent to child. In order to do this we recruit two groups of families: those in which at least one parent has suffered from depression, and those in which neither parent has suffered from depression. In both groups children are aged 9-14. In order to measure attention and interpretation biases we collect various behavioural (e.g. reaction-time) and eye-tracking measures while participants complete tasks on a computer.