Association Between Maternal Perinatal Depression and Anxiety and Child and Adolescent Development

Alana Rogers, BA(Hons)1Shelley Obst, BAppSc(Hons)1Samantha J. Teague, PhD1et alLarissa Rossen, PhD2,3,4Elizabeth A. Spry, PhD1,5Jacqui A. Macdonald, PhD1,5,6Matthew Sunderland, PhD7Craig A. Olsson, PhD1,5,6George Youssef, PhD1,5Delyse Hutchinson, PhD1,2,5,6

Author Affiliations

JAMA Pediatr. Published online September 14, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2910 

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Question  Are maternal perinatal depression and anxiety adversely associated with social-emotional, cognitive, language, motor, and adaptive behavior development in offspring during the first 18 years of life?

Findings  In this systematic review and meta-analysis, maternal perinatal depression and anxiety were associated with poorer social-emotional, cognitive, language, motor, and adaptive behavior development in offspring. Developmental outcomes extended beyond infancy, into childhood and adolescence.

Meaning  Evidence suggests that perinatal depression and anxiety in mothers are adversely associated with offspring development and, therefore, are important targets for prevention and early intervention to support mothers transitioning into parenthood and the health and well-being of next-generation offspring.

Abstract

Importance  There is widespread interest in associations between maternal perinatal depression and anxiety and offspring development; however, to date, there has been no systematic, meta-analytic review on the long-term developmental outcomes spanning infancy through adolescence.

Objective  To provide a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of the extant literature on associations between maternal perinatal depression and anxiety and social-emotional, cognitive, language, motor, and adaptability outcomes in offspring during the first 18 years of life.

Data Sources  Six databases were searched (CINAHL Complete, Cochrane Library, Embase, Informit, MEDLINE Complete, and PsycInfo) for all extant studies reporting associations between perinatal maternal mental health problems and offspring development to March 1, 2020.

Study Selection  Studies were included if they were published in English; had a human sample, quantitative data, a longitudinal design, and measures of perinatal depression and/or anxiety and social-emotional, cognitive, language, motor, and/or adaptability development in offspring; and investigated an association between perinatal depression or anxiety and childhood development.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Of 27 212 articles identified, 191 were eligible for meta-analysis. Data were extracted by multiple independent observers and pooled using a fixed- or a random-effects model. A series of meta-regressions were also conducted. Data were analyzed from January 1, 2019, to March 15, 2020.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Primary outcomes included social-emotional, cognitive, language, motor, and adaptability development in offspring during the first 18 years of life.

Results  After screening, 191 unique studies were eligible for meta-analysis, with a combined sample of 195 751 unique mother-child dyads. Maternal perinatal depression and anxiety were associated with poorer offspring social-emotional (antenatal period, r = 0.21 [95% CI, 0.16-0.27]; postnatal period, r = 0.24 [95% CI, 0.19-0.28]), cognitive (antenatal period, r = −0.12 [95% CI, –0.19 to –0.05]; postnatal period, r = −0.25 [95% CI, –0.39 to –0.09]), language (antenatal period, r = −0.11 [95% CI, −0.20 to 0.02]; postnatal period, r = −0.22 [95% CI, −0.40 to 0.03]), motor (antenatal period, r = −0.07 [95% CI, −0.18 to 0.03]; postnatal period, r = −0.07 [95% CI, −0.16 to 0.03]), and adaptive behavior (antenatal period, r = −0.26 [95% CI, −0.39 to −0.12]) development. Findings extended beyond infancy, into childhood and adolescence. Meta-regressions confirmed the robustness of the results.

Conclusions and Relevance  Evidence suggests that perinatal depression and anxiety in mothers are adversely associated with offspring development and therefore are important targets for prevention and early intervention to support mothers transitioning into parenthood and the health and well-being of next-generation offspring.

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About S. R. Zelenz 117 Articles
S.R. Zelenz has worked in education for 20 years. Working with students from all walks of life, cultures, races, and social diversity, Zelenz’s research in Educational Leadership led to finding a better way to approach learning for students with trauma histories. Many were juvenile offenders, gang members, diagnosed with varying behavioral disorders, or had family histories of violence, murder, or narcissistic parenting. This research could not be effectively accomplished without further understanding: how epigenetic trauma inheritance may be impacting these students; how brain development from trauma may be impacting their behavioral and emotional development; as well as deep understanding of psychology and its varying classifications for behavioral and personality disorders. The goal is to find solutions for changing the conversation and making a real difference for these students. She has also worked with nonprofits of varying focus areas for the last 25 years. Her undergraduate degree in Arts Administration and Music prepared her for managing nonprofits of any size as well as procuring funding so that they can achieve their goals. Pairing her nonprofit background with her education background, she has been able to make a difference for over 200 nonprofits worldwide, written curriculum for schools across the globe, and assisted many arts organizations through performance and management.