Pain-related symptoms of temporomandibular disorders in the offspring of antenatally depressed mothers and depressed parents: a 31-year follow-up of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966

Eur J Pain. 2013 Aug;17(7):1048-57. doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00270.x. Epub 2012 Dec 18.


Background: Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are clinical problems involving the masticatory muscles and temporomandibular joints (TMJs). Aspects of the aetiology of TMD are controversial. Many studies have identified an association between depression and TMD. The aim of the study was to evaluate the association between both maternal antenatal depression and parental depression during the offspring's childhood with TMD symptoms of the offspring during adulthood and to evaluate the effect of the offspring's own depression on this association.

Methods: In the general population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (NFBC 1966), mothers of 12,058 children were asked at mid-gestation at the antenatal clinic if they felt depressed. Of these offspring who had data available on TMD symptoms in the computer-aided inquiry at the 31-year field study, a final study data of 5541 subjects was compiled. The Finnish Hospital Discharge Register was used to identify depression in the parents between the years 1972 and 1984 (when offspring were 6-18 years old).

Results: There were no statistically significant associations between TMD symptoms and maternal antenatal depressed mood. However, parental depression during the offspring's childhood associated significantly with facial pain [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.64; 1.05-2.56] and with TMJ pain at jaw rest (OR = 1.81; 1.13-2.89), even after adjusting for gender, occupation of the father, family type at birth and the offspring's self-reported depression in adulthood.

Conclusion: The risk for TMD symptoms is not elevated in the offspring of antenatally depressed mothers. Parental depression during an offspring's childhood increases the risk of pain-related TMD symptoms in their early adulthood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Depression / physiopathology*
  • Facial Pain / complications
  • Family / psychology*
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / complications
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / physiopathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / psychology*