Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 607–615 | Cite as

The Impact of Perinatal Depression on Children’s Social-Emotional Development: A Longitudinal Study

  • Carolin JungeEmail author
  • Susan Garthus-Niegel
  • Kari Slinning
  • Carolin Polte
  • Tone Breines Simonsen
  • Malin Eberhard-Gran


Objectives This longitudinal population study aimed to investigate if maternal depression at different time points during the perinatal period impacts children’s social-emotional development at 2 years of age. Methods Participants were women (n = 1235) who gave birth at Akershus University Hospital in Norway. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed by using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at pregnancy week 32 and at 8 weeks and 2 years postpartum, whereas children’s social-emotional development at the age of 2 years was assessed by using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional. Bi- and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the linkage between maternal perinatal depression and children’s early social-emotional development. Results Multivariate analyses showed that social-emotional problems in the child 2 years after birth were strongly associated with maternal depression at pregnancy week 32 (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3.4; 95 % CI 1.4–8.0), depression at 8 weeks postpartum (aOR 3.8; 95 % CI 1.7–8.6), and with depression at both time points (aOR 3.7; 95 % CI 1.5–10.1). Conclusion Findings indicate pre- and postnatal depression each bears an independent, adverse impact on children’s social-emotional development.


Perinatal depression Onset timing Ages and Stages Questionnaire Social-emotional development 



The Akershus Birth Cohort study was funded by the Research Council of Norway, Project Number 191098.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolin Junge
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Susan Garthus-Niegel
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kari Slinning
    • 4
    • 5
  • Carolin Polte
    • 2
  • Tone Breines Simonsen
    • 6
    • 7
  • Malin Eberhard-Gran
    • 1
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Division of Mental HealthNorwegian Institute of Public HealthOsloNorway
  2. 2.Institute and Policlinic of Occupational and Social MedicineFaculty of Medicine, TU DresdenDresdenGermany
  3. 3.Institute and Outpatient Clinics of Psychotherapy and PsychosomaticUniversity Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, TU DresdenDresdenGermany
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  5. 5.National Network for the Infant Mental HealthThe Region Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Eastern and Southern NorwayOsloNorway
  6. 6.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyAkershus University HospitalLørenskogNorway
  7. 7.Health Services Research CentreAkershus University HospitalLørenskogNorway
  8. 8.Institute of Clinical Medicine, Campus AhusUniversity of OsloLørenskogNorway

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