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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2012 Apr;43(2):201-18. doi: 10.1007/s10578-011-0257-y.

Early school outcomes for children of postpartum depressed mothers: comparison with a community sample.

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Department of Clinical Psychology, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Previous studies of the long-term effects of maternal postpartum depression (PPD) on child development have mostly focused on a limited set of outcomes, and have often not controlled for risk factors associated with maternal depression. The present study compared children of postpartum depressed mothers (n = 29) with children from a community sample (n = 113) in terms of a broad range of developmental outcomes in the early school period. Controlling for risk factors associated with maternal depression, we found that children of postpartum depressed mothers had lower ego-resiliency, lower peer social competence, and lower school adjustment than the community sample children. In addition, girls of postpartum depressed mothers showed lower verbal intelligence, and, unexpectedly, showed fewer externalizing problems than their counterparts in the community sample. Results show that children's capacities to deal with stress and interact with peers in the early school period may be particularly affected by their mothers' PPD.

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