, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 75-85

Cognitive and social development in infants and toddlers with a bipolar parent

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This research was designed to compare early patterns of cognitive and social development in young children from families with and without a bipolar parent. 27 children (seven probands and 20 controls) were followed longitudinally during the second and third years of life. They were administered normed infant tests to assess physical object permanence, self-recognition, social role-taking, and attachment to the caregiver. There were no deficits in the performance of children from bipolar families on the cognitive tests. In contrast, on assessments that involved social relations, either with other persons or with symbolic representations of others, there were significant disturbances. Children with a bipolar parent showed developmental deficits in taking another's perspective and they displayed insecure patterns of attachment.