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Both prenatal and postnatal maternal depression are independently associated with an increased risk of adverse infant development. The impact of postnatal depression on infants may be mediated through the effect of depression in reducing maternal responsiveness. However, the mechanisms underlying the effect of prenatal depression are unclear. Using longitudinal data from over 900 mother-infant pairs in a UK birth cohort (ALSPAC), we found that women with high depressive symptom scores during mid pregnancy, but NOT when their infants were 8 months, had a 30% increased risk of low maternal responsiveness when the infant was 12 months compared to women with consistently low depression. This may provide a mechanism to explain the independent association between prenatal depression and poorer infant development.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.infbeh.2012.07.020

Type

Journal article

Journal

Infant Behav Dev

Publication Date

12/2012

Volume

35

Pages

613 - 626

Keywords

Adult, Child Development, Depression, Depressive Disorder, Female, Humans, Infant, Male, Maternal Behavior, Mother-Child Relations, Mothers, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications