Relation of intelligence and religiosity to depressive disorders in offspring of depressed and nondepressed mothers

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 May;42(5):578-86. doi: 10.1097/01.CHI.0000046831.09750.03.


Objective: To examine the relation of IQ and religiosity to depressive disorders in adolescents who varied with respect to the chronicity of their mothers' depression history.

Method: Participants were 240 adolescents first evaluated when they were in 6th grade and then annually for 6 years. Adolescents' depressive diagnoses were assessed initially with the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children and then annually with the Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation for children.

Results: IQ, but not religiosity, moderated the relation between chronicity of maternal depression and depressive disorders in adolescents. For children of mothers with no or less chronic depression, higher IQ was associated with a lower likelihood of depression; in contrast, for children of mothers with a history of more chronic depression, higher levels of IQ were significantly associated with a greater likelihood of depression. Depressive episodes during grades 7 through 11 predicted lower religious attendance during 12th grade, controlling for prior religiosity. There also was a marginally significant trend for religious attendance in 6th grade to predict lower odds of developing depressive diagnoses during grades 7 through 12.

Conclusions: These results highlight the complex relation between IQ and depression and indicate the possibility of a bidirectional relation between religious attendance and adolescent depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child of Impaired Parents*
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Mothers*
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Religion*