To investigate whether maternal psychopathology predicts mental health service use and treatment delay in offspring with mental disorders.
Weighted data collected between 2001 and 2004 from NCS‐A participants (age: 13‐18 years; N = 2939) meeting DSM‐IV criteria for any lifetime mental disorder, assessed with WHO CIDI, and from their biological mothers.
National representative cohort.
Maternal psychopathology was assessed with self‐report, adolescent mental health service use with the Service Assessment for Children and Adolescents.
Maternal psychopathology predicted offspring mental health service use across various service sectors, except for school services. In the mental health specialty sector, estimates were highest for maternal affective (hazard ratio (HR) = 2.17, 95 percent confidence interval (CI) = 1.66‐2.82) and any mental disorder (HR = 2.13, 95 percent CI = 1.53‐2.97). For offspring use of any mental health services, estimates were highest for maternal behavior (HR = 1.60, 95 percent CI = 1.15‐2.21) and substance use disorders (HR = 1.57, 95 percent CI = 1.09‐2.24). Treatment delay of offspring mental health service use was predicted by maternal behavior disorders.
Maternal psychopathology fostered mental health service use in offspring with mental disorders, while maternal behavior disorders might also retard treatment. Considering parental psychopathology may help improving the prevention of unmet offspring service needs.