The long-term effects of maternal depression: Early childhood physical health as a pathway to offspring depression

Raposa, Elizabeth, Hammen, Constance, Brennan, Patricia and Najman, Jake (2014) The long-term effects of maternal depression: Early childhood physical health as a pathway to offspring depression. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54 1: 88-93. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.038


Author Raposa, Elizabeth
Hammen, Constance
Brennan, Patricia
Najman, Jake
Title The long-term effects of maternal depression: Early childhood physical health as a pathway to offspring depression
Journal name Journal of Adolescent Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1054-139X
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.07.038
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 54
Issue 1
Start page 88
End page 93
Total pages 6
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA United States
Publisher Elsevier Inc.
Language eng
Subject 2735 Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
2738 Psychiatry and Mental health
2739 Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Abstract Purpose Cross-sectional and retrospective studies have highlighted the long-term negative effects of maternal depression on offspring physical, social, and emotional development, but longitudinal research is needed to clarify the pathways by which maternal depression during pregnancy and early childhood affects offspring outcomes. The current study tested one developmental pathway by which maternal depression during pregnancy might negatively impact offspring mental health in young adulthood, via poor physical health in early childhood. Methods The sample consisted of 815 Australian youth and their mothers who were followed for 20 years. Mothers reported on their own depressive symptoms during pregnancy and offspring early childhood. Youth completed interviews about health-related stress and social functioning at age 20 years, and completed a questionnaire about their own depressive symptoms 2 to 5 years later. Results Path analysis indicated that prenatal maternal depressive symptoms predicted worse physical health during early childhood for offspring, and this effect was partially explained by ongoing maternal depression in early childhood. Offspring poor physical health during childhood predicted increased health-related stress and poor social functioning at age 20. Finally, increased health-related stress and poor social functioning predicted increased levels of depressive symptoms later in young adulthood. Maternal depression had a significant total indirect effect on youth depression via early childhood health and its psychosocial consequences. Conclusions Poor physical health in early childhood and its effects on young adults' social functioning and levels of health related stress is one important pathway by which maternal depression has long-term consequences for offspring mental health.
Keyword Child and adolescent health
Community sample
Depression
Social adjustment
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
 
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