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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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93. Intergenerational Transmission of Fear and Distress Disorders Via Youth Personality: A Moderated Mediation Structural Model

Models of personality and psychopathology suggest parental fear and distress disorders may influence child personality, and child neuroticism and extraversion may predict children’s fear and distress disorders. We tested this model of intergenerational transmission of psychopathology and its mediation via youth’s personality in a sample of 550 never-depressed adolescent girls and their parents.

Fear and distress disorders were assessed via interview at baseline for adolescents and parents and four additional times over 36 months for adolescents. Teens’ neuroticism and extraversion were assessed using questionnaires at baseline. Direct effects of parent psychopathology on adolescents’ outcomes, and indirect effects through youth personality, were modeled using SEM.

Effects of parents’ fear and distress disorders on adolescents’ disorders were non-significant. However, there was a trend effect of parents’ fear on youth’s neuroticism (β=0.20, p=.06). The effect of parents’ distress on adolescents’ neuroticism was moderated by youth’s extraversion (β=-0.16, p=.03) such that parents’ distress disorders predicted increased neuroticism in offspring who reported low and mean levels of extraversion. Finally, adolescents’ neuroticism predicted the onset of teens’ fear (β=0.34, p<.01) and distress (β=0.47, p<.001) disorders. Results provide insight into the intergenerational transmission of fear and distress disorders and the role youth personality plays in this process.

Daniel Mackin
Stony Brook University

Brady Nelson
Stony Brook University

Megan Finsaas
Stony Brook University

Greg Perlman
Stony Brook University

Roman Kotov
Stony Brook University

Daniel Klein
Stony Brook University


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