The relationship of prenatal alcohol exposure and the postnatal environment to child depressive symptoms.

UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute & Hospital, 760 Westwood Plaza, Room 68-265 A, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA.
Journal of Pediatric Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.91). 01/2005; 31(1):50-64. DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsj021
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined the association between prenatal alcohol exposure and child depressive symptoms, and the mediating effects of maternal and child characteristics.
Participants were 42 children aged 4-5 years and their biological mothers. Prenatal alcohol consumption was assessed by self-report of maximum drinks per drinking occasion. The Pictorial Depression Scale (PDS) measured child depressive symptoms. Mother-child interactions were assessed using the family interaction puzzle task.
Structural equation modeling indicated that prenatal alcohol exposure was associated with more negative child affect. In turn, mothers of more negative children were less emotionally connected to their children, and those children had higher levels of depressive symptomatology. Results could not be explained by current maternal drinking patterns or maternal depression.
Study findings highlight the importance of examining prenatal alcohol exposure as a risk factor in the prediction of childhood-onset depression and the environmental mechanisms that may mediate that relationship.

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