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92. Improved organization in the home environment following a 12-week prevention program predicts reduced externalizing symptoms in offspring of parents with bipolar disorder at six-month follow-up
The offspring of parents with bipolar disorder (OBD) typically grow up in suboptimal caregiving environments, which likely contribute to adverse outcomes in youth. Low structure (organization and consistency) in the home is particularly problematic in families with parents having BD and is associated with future psychopathology in the OBD. In the current study, we examined whether improved organization within the home following a prevention program would predict decreased externalizing and internalizing symptoms in the OBD six months post-intervention. The sample consisted of 20 OBD and 29 children of parents with no mental illness. Families with a parent having bipolar disorder participated in the 12-week Reducing Unwanted Stress in the Home (RUSH) program, aimed at improving communication, problem-solving and structure in the home. Parent-reported levels of organization and psychopathology in youth were measured at pre-, post-, and six-month post-intervention. Bootstrapped mediation analyses indicated a significant indirect effect (CI [.9755-12.1155]), such that increased organization from pre- to post-intervention mediated the relationship between participating in the RUSH program and reduced externalizing symptoms at 6-month follow-up. These findings highlight the importance of early interventions targeting the home environment, as they may prove beneficial in reducing the development of psychopathology in the OBD.