Maternal depressive symptoms and infant temperament in the first year of life predict child behaviour at 3 years of age
Rigato S., Charalambous S., Stets M., Holmboe K.
<p>Postnatal maternal depression is associated with negative developmental outcomes in infancy and childhood. In a longitudinal study, mothers (N=63) completed questionnaires about their own depressive symptoms and their child’s behaviour at four time-points during the first year postpartum and again at 3 years postpartum. Maternal depressive symptoms and infant temperament measured in the first year of life by the Beck Depression Inventory-II (Beck et al., 1996) and the Infant Behavior Questionnaire – Revised, Very Short Form (Putnam et al., 2014), respectively, were related to child behaviour at 3 years of age as measured by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman, 1997). Maternal depressive scores during infancy was associated with later child conduct problems, suggesting a long-term association between maternal mental health and the development of child behaviour. Temperament across the first year of life was also associated with behavioural outcomes at 3 years of age: whereas infant negative affect predicted child conduct problems, infant surgency was associated with hyperactivity, and, along with infant orienting/regulatory capacity, also with child prosocial behaviour. These findings highlight the need for identification of those mothers and infants who struggle in the first postnatal year and for early interventions that can support optimal child development.</p>