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Psychol Health Med. 2010 May;15(3):278-87. doi: 10.1080/13548501003615258.

Maternal postpartum depression and infant social withdrawal among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive mother-infant dyads.

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MRC Unit on Anxiety and Stress Disorders, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.


Maternal postpartum depression poses significant risks for mother-child interaction and long-term infant outcomes. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status has also been implicated in the development of postpartum depression, but the association between maternal depression and infant social behavior in the context of HIV infection has not been fully investigated. First, we examined the relationship between maternal postpartum depression and infant social withdrawal at 10-12 months of age in HIV-infected mothers and infants. Second, we ascertained whether infant social withdrawal could be significantly predicted by maternal postpartum depression. The sample consisted of 83 HIV-infected mother-infant dyads. Mothers were assessed for postpartum depression with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), and infant social withdrawal behavior was rated using the Modified Alarm Distress Baby Scale (m-ADBB). 42.2% of the mothers scored above the cut-off point for depression on the EPDS, and a third of infants (31%) were socially withdrawn. Notably, maternal depression did not predict infant social withdrawal as measured by the m-ADBB. Infant social withdrawal was also not significantly associated with failure to thrive or gender. These preliminary findings need further investigation with respect to the impact on long-term neurodevelopmental and behavioral outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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