243993 Public health implications of maternal depression and family and child functioning: Cross-study findings

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:30 PM

Robin Gaines Lanzi, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Sharon Landesman Ramey, PhD , Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Virginia Tech, Roanoke, VA
Loral Patchen, CNM , Teen Alliance for Prepared Parenting, Washington Hospital Center, Washington DC, DC
Jennifer Burke Lefever, PhD , Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
Madeleine Shalowitz, MD , Section for Child and Family Health Studies, NorthShore University HealthSystem Research Institute, Evanston, IL
Maternal depression is high in the general population, but even higher among women in multi-risk ecologies, particularly demarcated by poverty and minority status. This presentation analyzes data from 4 longitudinal studies focused on 2 major transition periods: preparing for and 3 years after a child's birth and the transition-to-school, from pre-K -3rd grade. Each study includes repeated measures of maternal depression, family functioning, and child outcomes (Table 1). Across all studies, maternal depression rates ranged from 40-50%. Approximately 40% experienced no/minimal, 30% mild, 20% moderate, and 10% severe depression. Both severity and chronicity of depression contributed to associations detected with child/family functioning. In PFFT, highest prevalence rates of moderate-severe depression occurred during pregnancy, with high-education adult mothers having lower rates than either teen mothers or low-education adult mothers. Group differences continued over 3 years. Mothers' depression severity predicted multiple differences related to observed mother-infant interactional patterns, including 18-month parenting (Landry Naturalistic Observation, HOME) and child outcomes at 24 months (Bayley II Mental, PLS4, and ITSEA). Never-depressed mothers were older F(2,415)=6.79,p=.001, lower prenatal ERISK scores F(2,415)=10.96,p<.001 and higher prenatal support from their mothers F(2,415)=7.39,p=.001 and their babies' fathers F(2,415)=6.52,p=.002. Adolescent mothers with suicidal thoughts were significantly more likely to become pregnant again within 2 years (Z=2.17,p<.05) and 3 times more likely to report being physically abused than mothers who spaced their pregnancies further apart (Z=2.01,p<.05). Findings support policies to improve universal screening for maternal depression at multiple stages in a family's evolution. Additional public health implications will be delineated.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the relationship between maternal depression and family and child functioning. 2. Assess the public health implications of maternal depression and family and child functioning.

Keywords: Depression, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a developmental pediatrician who is an expert in maternal depression
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.