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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
Articles

Abstract

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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