Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 297–305 | Cite as

Parental care and control during childhood: associations with maternal perinatal mood disturbance and parenting stress

  • Kerry-Ann GrantEmail author
  • Alison Bautovich
  • Catherine McMahon
  • Nicole Reilly
  • Leo Leader
  • Marie-Paule Austin
Original Article


This study examined the associations between perceived parental care and control in childhood and maternal anxiety, depression and parenting stress during the transition to parenthood. Eighty-eight women completed the Parental Bonding Instrument, self-report measures of anxiety and depression and a structured diagnostic interview (Mini-plus International Neuropsychiatric Interview) during the third trimester of pregnancy. The MINI-Plus and anxiety and depression measures were re-administered at 7 months postpartum. The Parenting Stress Index was also administered at this time. Significant associations were found between maternal ‘affectionless control’ and prenatal and postnatal symptom measures of anxiety and depression, p values <0.005. Compared to women who reported optimal parenting, women who recalled maternal ‘affectionless control’ were also six times more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder during pregnancy (OR = 6.1, 95 % CI = 2.17–30.11) and seven times more likely to be diagnosed with postnatal major depression (OR = 6.8, 95 % CI = 1.80–25.37). Paternal ‘affectionless control’ was associated with significantly higher scores on symptom measures of prenatal and postnatal anxiety, p values <0.005. This study suggests that assessing a woman’s own parenting history is important in identifying and managing the risk of prenatal and postnatal affective disorders and parenting stress.


Prenatal Postnatal Anxiety Depression Risk 



We wish to acknowledge the financial support from the NHMRC (Program Grant 222708), the Black Dog Institute and St John of God Health Care (infrastructure funding). Thanks also to Ms. Elizabeth Carr for proofreading and checking this manuscript.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval was granted by the Human Ethics Review Committees of the South East Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service, the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University. All participants provided informed and written consent.

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest, actual or potential, related to the submitted manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerry-Ann Grant
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alison Bautovich
    • 2
  • Catherine McMahon
    • 1
  • Nicole Reilly
    • 3
    • 4
  • Leo Leader
    • 5
  • Marie-Paule Austin
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Centre for Emotional Health, Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Liaison PsychiatryRoyal Hospital for Women and Prince of Wales HospitalSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Perinatal and Women’s Mental Health UnitSt John of God Hospital BurwoodBurwoodAustralia
  4. 4.Black Dog Institute and School of PsychiatryUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  5. 5.School of Women’s and Children’s HealthUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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