The relationship between postnatal depression and mother-child interaction. Br J Psychiatry, 158, 46-52

University of Reading, Reading, England, United Kingdom
The British Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.99). 02/1991; 158(1):46-52. DOI: 10.1192/bjp.158.1.46
Source: PubMed


The study was based on an index group of 49 mothers who had had depressive disorders in the post-natal year, and 49 control mothers who had been free from any psychiatric disorder since delivery. Nineteen months after childbirth, the interaction between mother and child was assessed by blind assessors using defined observational methods. Compared with controls, index mother-child pairs showed a reduced quality of interaction (e.g. mothers showed less facilitation of their children, children showed less affective sharing and less initial sociability with a stranger). Similar but reduced effects were seen in a subgroup of index mothers and children where the mother had recovered from depression by 19 months. Social and marital difficulties were associated with reduced quality of mother-child interaction.

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Available from: Peter Cooper, Oct 01, 2014
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    • "Parental distress, by impacting parental unavailability or unresponsiveness, can be a key factor in undermining the quality of care a parent can provide (Tein et al. 2000). Parental distress has been repeatedly linked to maladaptive parenting behaviors and reduced quality of parent–child interaction (Crnic et al. 2005; Crnic and Greenberg 1990; Stein et al. 1991), less nurturant parenting (Anthony et al. 2005), lower levels of maternal sensitivity (Trapolini et al. 2008), and less responsiveness (Cox et al. 1987). In sum, there is a strong link between parental distress and deficits in the quality of emotionally responsive caregiving. "
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    • "A number of studies have found an association between maternal depression and adverse cognitive and emotional development of the children. Increased level of maternal depression at postnatal period was found significantly related to infants' poorer cognitive and motor development (Cogill et al. 1986; Lyons-Ruth et al. 1986; Murray 1992; Murray et al. 1996, 2011; Murray & Cooper 1997; Patel et al. 2003; Stein et al. 2012; Ali et al. 2013); insecure attachment (Lyons-Ruth et al. 1986; Murray 1992; Teti et al. 1995); social interactive difficulties (Stein et al. 1991; Field et al. 2009); and behavioural problems (Murray 1992). Neonates born to prenatally depressed mother were found less attentiveness and less responsiveness to face and voice stimulus (Hernandez-Reif et al. 2006; Field et al. 2009). "
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