Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 165–181 | Cite as

Interpreting the effects of mothers' postnatal depression on children's intelligence: A critique and re-analysis

  • Dale F. Hay
  • R. Kumar


It is possible that reported links between postnatal depression and children's cognitive deficits can be completely explained by vulnerability factors in the child such as male gender and pre- and perinatal insults as well as known risk factors in the social environment. This hypothesis was evaluated, using prospective longitudinal data that had previously been obtained from a community sample of primiparous North London women, followed from early pregnancy until the children were 4 years old. Re-analysis of those data provided support for the original finding of an association between postnatal depression and impaired cognitive abilities in the children. There were, however, some important modifications: Low birth-weight infants and the infants of less educated mothers were most at risk. Perceptual and performance abilities were most affected.

Key words

Postnatal Depression Infants Cognitive Development 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale F. Hay
    • 1
  • R. Kumar
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Free School LaneUniversity of CambridgeCambridge
  2. 2.Institute of PsychiatryLondon

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