Maternal Depression in the United States: Nationally Representative Rates and Risks

Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue,Boston, MA 02116, USA.
Journal of Women's Health (Impact Factor: 2.05). 08/2011; 20(11):1609-17. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2010.2657
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To examine the public health burden of major depressive disorder (MDD) among mothers: its prevalence and sociodemographic patterns; associated functioning, comorbidities, and adversities; and racial/ethnic disparities.
This was a cross-sectional analysis of 8916 mothers in the National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions, a nationally representative survey of the civilian U.S. population in 2001?2002. Past-year MDD was assessed with a structured interview protocol.
Ten percent of mothers experienced depression in the past year. White and Native American women, those with low education or income, and those not married had high rates of depression. Depression was not strongly patterned by number of or age of children. Depressed mothers experienced more adversities (poverty, separation or divorce, unemployment, financial difficulties) and had worse functioning. Half of depressed mothers received services for their depression. Black and Hispanic depressed mothers were more likely to experience multiple adversities and less likely to receive services than white depressed mothers.
Maternal depression is a major public health problem in the United States, with an estimated 1 in 10 children experiencing a depressed mother in any given year. Professionals who work with mothers and children should be aware of its prevalence and its detrimental effects.

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    • "This is further increased by selective attrition among socially disadvantaged women. As it is likely that this group has a higher proportion of maternal depression (Ertel et al. 2011), our results are plausibly an under-rather than an over-estimate of the relationship between socioeconomic predictors and maternal depression trajectories. Replication of our findings in a population including a higher proportion of disadvantaged, high-risk families is warranted. "
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal depression in the pre- and postpartum period may set women on a course of chronic depressive symptoms. Little is known about predictors of persistently elevated depressive symptoms in mothers from pregnancy onwards. The aims of this study are to determine maternal depression trajectories from pregnancy to the child's fifth birthday and identify associated risk factors. Mothers (N = 1807) from the EDEN mother-child birth cohort study based in France (2003-2011) were followed from 24-28 weeks of pregnancy to their child's fifth birthday. Maternal depression trajectories were determined with a semi-parametric group-based modelling strategy. Sociodemographic, psychosocial and psychiatric predictors were explored for their association with trajectory class membership. Five trajectories of maternal symptoms of depression from pregnancy onwards were identified: no symptoms (60.2%); persistent intermediate-level depressive symptoms (25.2%); persistent high depressive symptoms (5.0%); high symptoms in pregnancy only (4.7%); high symptoms in the child's preschool period only (4.9%). Socio-demographic predictors associated with persistent depression were non-French origin; psychosocial predictors were childhood adversities, life events during pregnancy and work overinvestment; psychiatric predictors were previous mental health problems, psychological help, and high anxiety during pregnancy. Persistent depression in mothers of young children is associated to several risk factors present prior to or during pregnancy, notably anxiety. These characteristics precede depression trajectories and offer a possible entry point to enhance mother's mental health and reduce its burden on children.
    Psychological Medicine 02/2015; 45(09):1-14. DOI:10.1017/S003329171500015X · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    • "As posited by Conger and others, the stress associated with poverty impacts maternal mental health which, in turn, inhibits the use of competent and responsive parenting behaviors, with negative effects on children (Conger & Elder, 1994; Conger, Wallace, Sun, Simons, McLoyd, & Brody, 2002). In support of this theory, rates of depression are substantially higher among lowincome women (Ertel et al., 2011) and maternal depression has been found to exert strong and long-lasting effects on child behavior and cognition (Letourneau, Salmani, & Duffett-Leger, 2010; Sobolewski & Amato, 2005). Findings are mixed, however, as to the relationship between maternal depression and child weight (Bronte-Tinkew, Zaslow, Capps, Horowitz, & McNamara, 2007; Lytle et al., 2011) and few studies have investigated this association in preschool age children . "
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    ABSTRACT: Although low-income children are at greater risk for overweight and obesity than their higher income counterparts, the majority of poor children are not overweight. The current study examined why such variation exists among diverse young children in poor families. Cross-sectional data were collected on 164 low-income, preschool aged children and their mothers living in two Rhode Island cities. Over half of the sample was Hispanic (55%). Mothers completed measures of family food behaviors and depression while trained assistants collected anthropometric data from children at seven day care centers and a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program outreach project. Multivariate analysis of covariance revealed that higher maternal depression scores were associated with lower scores on maternal presence when child eats (P < .05 ), maternal control of child's eating routines (P < .03), and food resource management skills (P < .01), and with higher scores on child control of snacking (P < .03) and negative mealtime practices (P < .05). Multiple regression results revealed that greater maternal presence whenever the child ate was significantly associated with lower child BMI z scores (β = .166, P < .05). Logistic regression analyses indicated that higher scores on food resource management skills reduced the odds of child overweight (odds ratios = .72 - .95, P < .01). Maternal depression did not modify the relationship between family food behaviors and child weight. Overall, caregiver presence whenever a child eats, not just at meals, and better parental food resource management skills may promote healthier weights in low-income preschoolers. Further research is needed to identify the mechanisms that connect caregiver presence and food resource management skills to healthier weights for this age group.
    Appetite 04/2014; 79. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2014.04.015 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    • "A meta-analysis has estimated that up to 19% of women in developed countries experience an episode of depression in the three-month postnatal period (Gavin et al., 2005). In the 2001–2002 National Epidemiologic Survey of Alcohol and Related Conditions, approximately 10% of mothers of children b 18 years of age experienced a major depressive disorder in the prior 12 month period (Ertel et al., 2011). Maternal depressive symptoms, such as negative affect and inactivity, may directly impact parenting for child healthy weight. "
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal depression is prevalent and has been associated with parenting practices that influence child weight. In this systematic review we aimed to examine the prospective association between maternal depression and child overweight. We searched four databases (PsycINFO, PubMed, Embase, and Academic Search Premier) to identify studies for inclusion. We included studies with a prospective design with at least one year follow-up, measuring maternal depression at any stage after childbirth, and examining child overweight or obesity status, BMI z-score or percentile, or adiposity. Two authors extracted data independently and findings were qualitatively synthesized. We identified nine prospective studies for inclusion. Results were examined separately for episodic depression (depression at a single measurement occasion) and chronic depression (depression on multiple measurement occasions). Mixed results were observed for the relationship between episodic depression and indicators of child adiposity. Chronic depression, but not episodic depression, was associated with greater risk for child overweight. While chronic depression may be associated with child overweight, further research is needed. Research is also needed to determine whether maternal depression influences child weight outcomes in adolescence and to investigate elements of the family ecology that may moderate the effect of maternal depression on child overweight.
    Preventive Medicine 11/2013; 59(1). DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.11.020 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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