Trajectories of Postpartum Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Children’s Social Skills
- 355 Downloads
The vast majority of new mothers experience at least some depressive symptoms. Postpartum maternal depressive symptoms can greatly influence children’s outcomes (e.g., emotional, cognitive, language, and social development). However, there have been relatively few longitudinal studies of how maternal depressive symptoms may influence children’s social skills. The current study (n = 1363) examined the trajectory of maternal depressive symptoms (from 1 month to 36 months) and whether maternal depressive symptoms at 1 month postpartum and the change in symptoms over time (from 1 month to 3 years) predicted children’s parent- and teacher-rated social skills when they were 4.5 and 6.0 years old. A growth curve model indicated that, on average, maternal depressive symptoms declined over time in a nonlinear fashion. Further analyses indicated that after controlling for five demographic factors (child sex, family income, maternal age, mother’s marital status, and maternal education), initial maternal depressive symptoms significantly predicted children’s social skills as reported by mothers. The results support the notion that maternal depressive symptoms during children’s infancy can have long-term associations with children’s social skills. In addition, the results emphasize the importance of intervention and prevention efforts targeting maternal depressive symptoms during infancy, beginning immediately postpartum.
KeywordsMaternal depression Postpartum depression Social skills Child outcomes Longitudinal
- Campbell, S. B., Morgan-Lopez, A. A., Cox, M. J., McLoyd, V. C., & NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2009). A latent class analysis of maternal depressive symptoms over 12 years and offspring adjustment in adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 479–493.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Carter, A. S., Garrity-Rokous, F. E., Chazan-Cohen, R., Little, C., & Briggs-Gowan, M. J. (2001). Maternal depression and comorbidity: Predicting early parenting, attachment security, and toddler social-emotional problems and competencies. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40, 18–26.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Foster, C. E., Webster, M. C., Weissman, M. M., Pilowsky, D. J., Wickramaratne, P. J., Talati, A., et al. (2008). Remission of maternal depression: Relations to family functioning and youth internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37, 714–724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Graham, J. W., Cumsille, P. E., & Elek-Fisk, E. (2003). Methods of handling missing data. In I. B. Weiner (Ed.), Handbook of psychology, Vol. 2 (pp. 87–114). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Gresham, F. M., & Elliot, S. N. (1990). The social skills rating system. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
- Gump, B. B., Reihman, J., Stewart, P., Lonky, E., Darvill, T., et al. (2009). Trajectories of maternal depressive symptoms over her child’s life span: Relation to adrenocortical, cardiovascular, and emotional functioning in children. Development and Psychopathology, 21, 207–225.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jaser, S. S., Fear, J. M., Reeslund, K. L., Champion, J. E., Reising, M. M., & Compas, B. E. (2008). Maternal sadness and adolescents’ responses to stress in offspring of mothers with and without a history of depression. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 37, 736–746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Johnson, P. L., & Flake, E. M. (2007). Maternal depression and child outcomes. Psychiatric Annals, 37, 404–410.Google Scholar
- Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Linnet, K. M., Dalsgaard, S., Obel, C., Wisborg, K., Henriksen, T. B., Rodriguez, A., et al. (2003). Maternal lifestyle factors in pregnancy risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and associated behaviors: Review of the current evidence. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 1028–1040.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998-2007). Mplus user’s guide. Fifth Edition [Computer software and manual]. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- National Institutes of Health. (2005). Understanding Postpartum Depression. http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2005/December2005/docs/01features_02.htm. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
- NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2005). Chronicity of maternal depressive symptoms, maternal sensitivity, and child functioning at 36 months. In The NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (Ed.), Child care and child development: Results from the NICHD study of early child care and youth development (pp. 151–162). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Peth-Pierce, R. (1998). The NICHD study of early child care. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Child Health and Development.Google Scholar
- US Preventive Services Task Force. (2002). Screening for depression: Recommendations and rationale. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Retrieved August 22, 2009, from http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/3rduspstf/depression/depressrr.htm.