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Br J Psychiatry. 2002 Jun;180:502-8.

Maternal antenatal anxiety and children's behavioural/emotional problems at 4 years. Report from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

Author information

1
Institute of Psychiatry, Denmark Hill, London. spjwtoc@iop.kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Animal experiments suggest that maternal stress and anxiety during pregnancy have long-term effects on the behaviour of the offspring.

AIMS:

To test the hypothesis that antenatal maternal anxiety predicts behavioural problems at age 4 years.

METHOD:

Data were collected on multiple antenatal and postnatal assessments of maternal anxiety and depression, antenatal and obstetric risks, psychosocial risks and children's behavioural/emotional problems (n=7448).

RESULTS:

Antenatal maternal anxiety predicted behavioural/emotional problems in boys (OR=2.14, 95% CI 1.48-3.10) and girls (OR=1.88, 95% CI 1.3-2.69) after accounting for covariates. When covarying maternal anxiety up to 33 months postnatally, antenatal anxiety continued to predict total problems in boys (OR=1.56, 95% CI 1.02-2.41) and girls (OR=1.51, 95% CI 1.22-2.81).

CONCLUSIONS:

There could be a direct effect of maternal mood on foetal brain development, which affects the behavioural development of the child.

PMID:
12042228
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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