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Unformatted text preview: Mothers’ Antenatal Depression and Their Children’s Antisocial Outcomes Dale F. Hay Cardiff University Susan Pawlby King’s College London Cerith S. Waters and Oliver Perra Cardiff University Deborah Sharp University of Bristol Interviews of 120 British adolescents and their parents (80% of a random sample of antenatal patients drawn from a representative urban population and followed longitudinally) revealed that 40 (33%) had been arrested and ⁄ or had a diagnosis of DSM–IV conduct disorder by 16 years of age; of those, 18 (45%) had committed violent acts. Depression in pregnancy significantly predicted violence in adolescence, even after controlling for the family environment, the child’s later exposure to maternal depression, the mother’s smoking and drinking during pregnancy, and parents’ antisocial behavior. Mothers with a history of conduct problems were at elevated risk to become depressed in pregnancy, and the offspring of depressed women had a greater chance of becoming violent by age 16. The aim of our study was to examine links between exposure to maternal depression in pregnancy and antisocial outcomes in a longitudinal sample of Brit- ish children who were studied at intervals until the age of 16. It has been shown that the mother’s men- tal health problems in pregnancy predict disruptive behavior disorders in offspring. In particular, the mother’s symptoms of anxiety predict behavioral problems (O’Connor, Heron, Golding, Beveridge, & Glover, 2002) and attention deficit hyperactivity dis- order (Van den Bergh & Marcoen, 2004; Van den Bergh, Mennes, et al., 2005; Van den Bergh, Mulder, Mennes, & Glover, 2005; Van den Bergh et al., 2006). In a large Finnish cohort, mothers’ reports of depression during pregnancy predicted antisocial behavior in their adult offspring 30 years later (Maki et al., 2003). In this study we concentrate attention on the more prevalent clinical disorder, depression, while simultaneously controlling for the level of mothers’ anxiety symptoms in pregnancy. Although these studies have found evidence for an association between mothers’ mental health problems in pregnancy and children’s outcomes, it is not clear whether that association reflects a direct effect of the mother’s mental state on the fetus or whether it is accounted for by other social and bio- logical processes. Several plausible hypotheses can be generated to account for these links between antenatal exposure to maternal depression and anti- social outcomes. The association could be explained by: (a) direct effects on the developing fetus from the biological correlates of the mothers’ symptoms; (b) the association of depression in pregnancy with more gen- eral measures of environmental adversity, which are well-known predictors of antisocial behavior; (c) re-exposure to the maternal depression , whereby infants who are exposed in pregnancy are at elevated risk for re-exposure and consequent disruption of the postnatal environment; (d)...
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- Spring '08
- The Land, Antisocial personality disorder, conduct disorder