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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 1991 Winter;22(2):97-110.

Prenatal stress and childhood psychopathology.

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  • 1Institute for Juvenile Research, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago.


The documentation of levels of prenatal maternal stress and anxiety of four populations of severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents was retrospectively reviewed to examine their relationship to the later development of childhood psychopathology. Significantly more of those children were born to unmarried mothers who had not planned to become pregnant, felt unhappy about being pregnant, lived in family discord, emotionally rejected being pregnant, and experienced significantly more physical problems than would be expected by chance. This study supports the hypothesis that chronic prenatal stress adds both physiological and psychological risk factors to the later development of childhood psychopathology.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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