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
    • "Maternal depression has numerous effects on infant–mother interactions. The social interactions of depressed mothers tend to be reduced in quality, such that the less the mothers facilitate interactions, the less the children tend to be sociable, even with strangers (Stein et al., 1991). In terms of CDS, depressed mothers produce less exaggerated prosody and have delayed responses to infant vocalizations and more variable pauses (Bettes, 1988). "
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    ABSTRACT: Child-directed speech (CDS), or speech adjustments made by adults when interacting with children, is characterized by higher pitch, more repetition, simplified vocabulary, and exaggerated intonation patterns. Here, we review the role of CDS in enhancing language acquisition. Not only have strong global relationships have been found between maternal linguistic input and language development, but also specific features of CDS (e.g., higher pitch and exaggerated prosody) have been discerned that seem to assist in language learning. Finally, we review evidence from developmental disorders further support the relationship between CDS and language acquisition.
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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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    ABSTRACT: Background Maternal depression is associated with poor child development and growth in low-income countries. This paper evaluates the effect of a community-based trial providing psychosocial stimulation and food supplements to severely malnourished children on maternal depressive symptoms in Bangladesh.Methods Severely underweight (weight-for-age Z-score < −3) hospitalized children aged 6–24 months (n = 507), were randomly assigned to: psychosocial stimulation (PS), food supplementation (FS), PS+FS, clinic control (CC) and hospital control (CH) at discharge. PS included play sessions with children and parental counselling to mothers during fortnightly follow-up visit at community clinics, conducted by trained play leaders for 6 months. FS involved cereal-based supplements (150–300 kcal/day) for 3 months. All groups received medical care, micronutrient supplements and growth monitoring. We used Bayley scales, Home Observation for Measurement of Environment (HOME) inventory and a parenting questionnaire to assess child development, home stimulation and mothers' child-rearing practices, respectively. We assessed mothers' depressive symptoms using a modified version of Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale at baseline and at 6 months post intervention.ResultsMaternal depressive symptoms were significantly lower in the CH group at baseline (P = 0.014). After 6 months of intervention there was no significant effect of intervention after adjusting for baseline scores and all possible confounders. Maternal depressive symptoms were higher among poorer (P = 0.06), older (P = 0.057) and less educated (P = 0.019) mothers, who were housewives (P = 0.053), and whose husbands had more unstable jobs (P = 0.058). At 6 months post intervention, children's cognitive (P = 0.045) and motor (P = 0.075) development, HOME (P = 0.012) and mother's parenting score (P = 0.057) were higher among mothers with lower depressive symptoms.Conclusion The study did not show a significant effect of the intervention on the level of maternal depressive symptoms. Interventions with higher intensity and/or of longer duration focusing directly on maternal psychosocial functioning are probably needed to reduce maternal depressive symptoms.
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