Does maternal depression predict developmental outcome in 18month old infants?

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Aim: Our aim was to examine the associations between maternal depression in the first 6. months postpartum, home environment and cognitive, language and motor development in infants at 18. months of age. Study design and methods: This article reports results from the control group (n= 312 full term; n= 48 preterm) of the prospective Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to Optimise Maternal Infant Outcome (DOMInO) Randomised Controlled Trial. Mothers in South Australia completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at 6. weeks and 6. months postpartum. Infant development was assessed when children were 18. months old with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development Version III and mothers completed the Home Screening Questionnaire at this assessment. Results: There were no significant associations between maternal depression in the first 6. months postpartum and cognitive, language or motor development after controlling for infant prematurity, breastfeeding status and socio-economic level. Home environment remained a significant predictor of development after controlling for potential confounding variables. Using mediation models, we did not find an association between maternal depression and developmental outcome through home environment. Conclusions: Maternal depression in the first 6. months postpartum was not associated with infant development at 18. months of age. Further studies should focus on women with chronic depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-655
Number of pages5
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • Child development
  • Infancy
  • Maternal depression
  • Postpartum period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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