I don't usually do the Sunday morning New York Times thing, but Dinah is away and doesn't have a laptop so she asked one of us to put something up about this for her.
Today on the New York Times, a piece entitled "Is Depression Inherited?"
The story, by Daphne Merkin, is about her lifelong struggle with depression and the role it has played in her life as a mother.
She was first hospitalized when her daughter was six months old and at least twice more after that during her child's adolescence. She talks about the guilt she felt when her daughter once ran into her bedroom and threatened to kill herself with a knife at the age of six. She worries that her child will learn her previous maladaptive ways of coping and end up dealing with a depressive disorder dealt her by a quirk of genetics.
She discusses the heritability of depression---about 40 percent---but qualifies this with the unknown factors of unexpected traumatic events and factors related to resiliency, like having loving and consistent parents.
In the end, genetics are not destiny and just being aware of the risk may be enough to protect the children of depressed parents.