Maternal postnatal depression and children's growth and behaviour during the early years of life: exploring the interaction between physical and mental health.


Avan, B; Richter, LM; Ramchandani, PG; Norris, SA; Stein, A; (2010) Maternal postnatal depression and children's growth and behaviour during the early years of life: exploring the interaction between physical and mental health. Archives of disease in childhood, 95 (9). pp. 690-5. ISSN 0003-9888 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/adc.2009.164848

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE To assess the association between maternal postnatal depression and child behaviour problems and child growth at age 2 years. METHODS This was a longitudinal birth cohort study in Johannesburg, South Africa. Primary analysis on the 'Birth to Twenty' cohort was performed for the association between maternal postnatal depression and child behaviour problems (n=1035) and growth (n=891) at age 2 and subgroup analyses (n=635) were carried out to assess the role of poor child growth in this association. Main outcome measures were the association between maternal postpartum depression (measured at 6 months postnatally using the Pitt depression inventory) and child behaviour problems (Richman child behaviour scale) and child growth at age 2 years. RESULTS Maternal postnatal depression was significantly associated with child behaviour problems at age 2, independent of socioeconomic status (beta=0.353, p value=0.015). There was some evidence that children of depressed mothers were also at increased risk for having stunted growth, compared to non-depressed mothers (OR 1.61 (95% CI 1.02 to 2.56). The association between postnatal depression and child behavioural problems was significantly mediated by the stunted growth of the child (beta=0.294, p value=0.111). CONCLUSIONS Maternal postnatal depression is associated with later child behaviour problems independent of the socioeconomic status of the family. This association is mediated by the child's growth, demonstrating the importance of considering a child's physical and mental health together.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Population Health (2012- )
Research Centre: Maternal and Child Health Intervention Research Group
PubMed ID: 20660522
Web of Science ID: 281003700008
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/448543

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