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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Mar 20;16(6). pii: E1007. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16061007.

Associations of Prenatal and Postnatal Maternal Depressive Symptoms with Offspring Cognition and Behavior in Mid-Childhood: A Prospective Cohort Study.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, Laval University, Quebec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada. sabrina.faleschini.1@ulaval.ca.
2
Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA. sheryl_rifas@harvardpilgrim.org.
3
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA. tiemeier@hsph.harvard.edu.
4
Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA. emily_oken@harvardpilgrim.org.
5
Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA. emily_oken@harvardpilgrim.org.
6
Division of Chronic Disease Research Across the Lifecourse, Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA. mhivert@partners.org.
7
Diabetes Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA. mhivert@partners.org.

Abstract

Exposure to maternal depressive symptoms in the peri-pregnancy periods may be associated with poorer child development, but research is often limited to only maternal assessments of behavior and cognition. This study investigates the specific periods of prenatal and postnatal exposure to maternal depressive symptoms in association with child development using reports from teachers and mothers. This study is based on 1225 motherā»child pairs from Project Viva, a prospective pre-birth cohort study. Mothers reported depressive symptoms on the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) in mid-pregnancy as well as at 6 months and 12 months postpartum. Teachers and mothers reported child executive functions using the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) and behavior using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Children completed the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT-2), the Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities (WRAVMA), and the Visual Memory Index of the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML). We used multivariable linear regression models to examine associations of prenatal and postpartum depressive symptoms with outcomes. Many of the crude associations observed were attenuated after adjusting for demographic factors and maternal IQ, yet some remained significant. For example, high prenatal maternal depressive symptoms were associated with poorer scores on the BRIEF Behavior Regulation Index and some SDQ scales based on reports from teachers and mothers. High prenatal maternal depressive symptoms were associated with poorer behavioral development. Postpartum symptoms did not show strong associations with outcomes once we adjusted for the prenatal period.

KEYWORDS:

behavior problems; child development; maternal depression

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