A Longitudinal Study of Maternal Depressive Symptoms, Negative Expectations and Perceptions of Child Problems

Department of Child Psychiatry, Tampere University Hospital, University of Tampere, Medical School.
Child Psychiatry and Human Development (Impact Factor: 1.93). 02/2004; 35(1):37-53. DOI: 10.1023/B:CHUD.0000039319.96151.63
Source: PubMed


The aim of this longitudinal study was to examine the associations between maternal depressive symptoms and perceptions of children's problems. One hundred and nineteen mother-child dyads were followed from the third trimester of pregnancy for almost 10 years. Depressive symptoms and background factors of the mothers and the anticipated/perceived problems of their firstborn were assessed prenatally, postnatally, and when the child was 4-5 years and 8-9 years old. The simultaneous and long-term associations between maternal depressive symptoms and child's problems were examined. Maternal prenatal depressive symptoms, the continuity of negative expectations to postnatal problem perceptions, and high problem level at 4-5 years of child's age predicted high problem level in 8-9-year-olds.

    • "Although most prenatal effect studies have been focused on the outcome of prenatal anxiety (e.g. Pluess et al., 2011), there is evidence that prenatal depressive symptoms can make a separate contribution as they have been linked to elevated neonatal cortisol levels, fussiness and sleep problems (Davis et al., 2011; Field et al., 2004), and externalizing symptoms in middle childhood (Luoma et al., 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Disorganized attachment is an important early risk factor for socioemotional problems throughout childhood and into adulthood. Prevailing models of the etiology of disorganized attachment emphasize the role of highly dysfunctional parenting, to the exclusion of complex models examining the interplay of child and parental factors. Decades of research have established that extreme child birth weight may have long-term effects on developmental processes. These effects are typically negative, but this is not always the case. Recent studies have also identified the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) as a moderator of childrearing effects on the development of disorganized attachment. However, there are inconsistent findings concerning which variant of the polymorphism (seven-repeat long-form allele or non-seven-repeat short-form allele) is most likely to interact with caregiving in predicting disorganized versus organized attachment. In this study, we examined possible two- and three-way interactions and child DRD4 polymorphisms and birth weight and maternal caregiving at age 6 months in longitudinally predicting attachment disorganization at 36 months. Our sample is from the Maternal Adversity, Vulnerability and Neurodevelopment project, a sample of 650 mother-child dyads. Birth weight was cross-referenced with normative data to calculate birth weight percentile. Infant DRD4 was obtained with buccal swabs and categorized according to the presence of the putative allele seven repeat. Macroanalytic and microanalytic measures of maternal behavior were extracted from a videotaped session of 20 min of nonfeeding interaction followed by a 10-min divided attention maternal task at 6 months. Attachment was assessed at 36 months using the Strange Situation procedure, and categorized into disorganized attachment and others. The results indicated that a main effect for DRD4 and a two-way interaction of birth weight and 6-month maternal attention (frequency of maternal looking away behavior) and sensitivity predicted disorganized attachment in robust logistic regression models adjusted for social demographic covariates. Specifically, children in the midrange of birth weight were more likely to develop a disorganized attachment when exposed to less attentive maternal care. However, the association reversed with extreme birth weight (low and high). The DRD4 seven-repeat allele was associated with less disorganized attachment (protective), while non-seven-repeat children were more likely to be classified as disorganized attachment. The implications for understanding inconsistencies in the literature about which DRD4 genotype is the risk direction are also considered. Suggestions for intervention with families with infants at different levels of biological risk and caregiving risk are also discussed.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Development and Psychopathology
    • "For example, maternal depression has been linked with teacherreported behavior problems in older school-age children (e.g., Hammen et al., 1987). However, some studies have reported weaker links between maternal depression and teacher-reported child behavior compared to mother-reported behavior (Luoma et al., 2004), and others have found no link to teacher-reported behavior (Fergusson, Horwood, Gretton, & Shannon, 1985). Ordway (2011) outlined several possible reasons for these findings. "
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    ABSTRACT: Research Findings: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between low-level depressive symptoms in mothers and teacher-reported child behavioral outcomes. Participants included 442 low-income mothers of preschool-age children who were screened for maternal depression by their child's preschool teacher. Teacher reports of child behavior problems were collected on a random sample of the children (n = 264). Of mothers screened for depression, 16.7% reported low-level depressive symptoms (below the cutoff on the screener indicating clinically elevated symptoms). Analyses revealed that children of mothers with low-level depressive symptoms had significantly greater problems with externalizing behavior compared to children of mothers with no depressive symptoms. Practice or Policy: Results suggest that children whose mothers experience even low-level depressive symptoms are at risk for problems with behavior, pointing to the need for screening and interventions to address maternal depression at all levels of severity. Early childhood education providers are in an excellent position to support families impacted by symptoms of maternal depression through screening and education, supportive daily interactions, and referrals for services if needed. Teachers can also provide direct support for high-risk children's social and emotional skill development through the provision of sensitive, nurturing care.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Early Education and Development
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    • "In relation to psychological and emotional factors, several studies have shown that mothers' perceptions of their children are related to their emotional states and to their personality characteristics. Thus, depressive symptoms (Luoma et al. 2004) and high neuroticism (Romero et al. 1993) in the mother are related to less positive and more negative descriptions of their children. Belsky and colleagues (1995) found that mothering was more consistently predicted by personality and mood than fathering, that neuroticism was the most consistent predictor of men's and women's parenting style, and that extraversion played a larger role in predicting fathering than mothering. "
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    ABSTRACT: Father and mother neonatal perceptions can alter the parents' behaviour towards their child and influence their relationship and, consequently, his/her development. The aim of this study was to examine how mother-father perceptions of their neonates evolve during the first month of life, and whether these perceptions, and the psychological and social characteristics of the mothers are good predictors of infant development. Seventy-two mother-father-child triads participated. Maternal personality, including neuroticism, and maternal depression and anxiety symptoms were assessed. Parents' neonatal perceptions and neonatal behaviour were assessed at 3 days and at 1 month post partum and infant development at 4 and 12 months post partum. Parents' initial perceptions were positive, decreased in both parents during the first month and evolved differently according to the child's gender. High maternal neuroticism was related to worse neonatal perceptions, and high father perception was related to better infant development at 12 months. These results support the contribution of parents' neonatal perception on infant development and may have social implications regarding the role of fathers in the parenting of their children.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Child Care Health and Development
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