More illness in offspring of bipolar patients from the U.S. compared to Europe

Robert M. Post, Lori L. Altshuler, Ralph Kupka, Susan L. McElroy, Mark A Frye, Michael Rowe, Heinz Grunze, Trisha Suppes, Paul E. Keck, Gabriele S. Leverich, Willem A. Nolen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Background Evidence suggests that patients with bipolar disorder from the United States have an earlier age of onset and a more difficult course of illness than those from Germany and the Netherlands. These characteristics were related to a greater family burden of psychiatric illness and the experience of more psychosocial adversity in childhood. We hypothesized that this greater illness burden would extend to the offspring of the US patients. Methods 968 outpatients (average age 41) with bipolar illness gave informed consent for participation in a treatment outcome network and filled out a detailed questionnaire about their illness and family history of illness, including whether their offspring had a diagnosis of depression, bipolar disorder, alcohol or substance abuse, suicide attempt or "other" illness. Of those with children, 356 were from the US and 132 were from Europe. Results Compared to the Europeans, offspring of patients from the US had significantly (p

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016



  • Anxiety disorder
  • Depression
  • Family history
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicide attempt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Post, R. M., Altshuler, L. L., Kupka, R., McElroy, S. L., Frye, M. A., Rowe, M., Grunze, H., Suppes, T., Keck, P. E., Leverich, G. S., & Nolen, W. A. (2016). More illness in offspring of bipolar patients from the U.S. compared to Europe. Journal of Affective Disorders, 191, 180-186.