Post-Partum Depression Effect on Child Health and Development
While studies have shown the disastrous effects of post-partum depression (PPD) on children's behaviors, there is relatively lack of reliable data in Asian countries. This study examined the relative significance of maternal PPD in children's developmental disabilities at age four. In a longitudinal study design (2009), 1801 pregnant women attending in primary health centers of Mazandaran province in the north of Iran provided self-reports of depression from two to twelve postpartum weeks using Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Approximately four years later, the women experiencing PPD and twice as the ones who did not experience this disorder were considered as case (N=204) and control (N=467) groups. The association between maternal depression at different times and childhood developmental disabilities based on Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) and other health problems reported by the child were analyzed using two-sample t-test, chi-square test, and logistic regression models. The presence of PPD only was not a predictor of child's developmental disabilities at age four. Childhood developmental disabilities in communication, gross motor and personal-social domains of ASQ were associated with the current and concurrent maternal depressive symptoms (OR=2.59, 95% CI=1.16-5.78; OR=4.34, 95% CI=2.10-8.96; OR=5.66, 95% CI=1.94-16.54 and OR=3.35, 95% CI=1.31-8.58; OR=4.15, 95% CI=2.72-13.87; OR=6.17, 95% CI=1.95-19.53 respectively). PPD, the current depressive symptoms, and depression at both occasions were associated with more health problems in children. Childhood developmental disabilities in some domains of ASQ were significantly related to the maternal depression chronicity or recurrence. Also, child's difficulties were more prevalent in association with maternal depression regardless of onset time.
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