Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Children whose mothers are depressed after childbirth may be at elevated risk for violence

03.11.2003


Children whose mothers are depressed after childbirth are at elevated risk for violence by age 11, especially if the mothers suffered repeated depression, according to new research involving British families. The study also finds that in contrast to their peers, children whose mothers had been depressed at three months postpartum showed more diverse and severe aggressive behaviors than other children. The findings appear in the November issue of Developmental Psychology, a journal published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

As part of an ongoing, longitudinal study of child development, researcher Dale F. Hay, Ph.D., of Cardiff University and colleagues studied 122 families living in two communities in South London to see what affect the mother’s postnatal depression has on the development of children’s violent behavior. The participants were representative of urban populations in contemporary Britain. Mothers were interviewed during pregnancy, at three months postpartum and when the child was one, four and 11 years old. Mothers, teachers and children were questioned about violent symptoms when the child was 11.

As expected, the researchers found that most children in the study were not violent. However, those children who had mothers that had been depressed in the months after childbirth were more violent than other children, especially if the depression occurred at three months postpartum and at least once thereafter. The violence was more common in boys at age 11 than girls and mostly involved fighting with peers. The fighting often led to injury and suspension from school.



The link between postnatal depression and violence at age 11 was associated with the children’s problems in regulating attention and emotion, according to the study. Specifically, children of depressed mothers were also angry and inattentive at age 11, and these tendencies were linked to their propensity for violence. "Previous research has found that problems in regulating one’s attention and activity and in managing anger and responses to frustration are associated with violent behavior and various disruptive behavior disorders, and our study suggests that is what is taking place here," says Dr. Hay.

The results of this and similar studies make clear that the mother’s mental state after childbirth is an easily identifiable risk factor for her child’s intellectual and social development, according to the authors. What is not clear is the mechanism which this risk factor exerts its influence. It’s possible that the attention and emotional problems shown by the children of depressed mothers had biological origins, possibly related to hormonal mechanisms at work. "It is also possible that babies with heritable difficult temperament provoke depression in their mothers and that the child’s later violence is entirely explained by preexisting factors within the child," write the researchers.

Whether cause or effect, "it is clear that postnatal depression is an important clinical marker for the child’s later problems, and a child’s capacity for violence can be predicted with some reliability in the months after birth, say the authors. "Although it appears that violence is not an inevitable outcome of postnatal depression, it is one that is made more likely under conditions of continued adversity. Early and recurring exposure to maternal depression puts children at risk for the overt pathway toward serious violence."

David Partenheimer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.apa.org/journals/dev/press_releases/november_2003/dev3961083.html

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>