Depression beats waves: A mother’s depression can affect her child’s development. In a long-term study, researchers have discovered that children of ill mothers have inhibited language development and a smaller vocabulary. Maternal depression often originated immediately after birth and could affect other areas of the child’s life as the authors report.
Depression of the mother can delay the speech development of her child.
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Listlessness, lack of energy, insomnia ?? and that for weeks. A depression is a serious mental illness that can have dramatic consequences for the lives of those affected. In the US alone, about one in ten women develops depression. One reason for this may be the birth of a child: an initial low mood may develop into postnatal depression. Without treatment, this in turn may lead to chronic suffering. But what effects does the mother’s illness have on her child? Long-term study of child development To investigate the effect on offspring, Patricia East from the University of California at San Diego and her colleagues followed the development of 900 children with depressed or healthy mothers over 16 years. At intervals of five years, the researchers analyzed how loving and receptive the mothers were to their children and how much learning material they provided. The linguistic development of the children was examined about every five years with an IQ test. Depression reduces language development The result: As expected, depressed mothers treated their children differently than healthy mothers. “We found out that highly depressed mothers did not use themselves so emotionally or supported their children with learning materials, such as toys and books, as healthy mothers did,” says East. These differences obviously had a lasting effect on the children’s IQ. On a scale of one to 19, children with depressive mothers achieved an IQ of 7.3. On the other hand, children with healthy mothers had a voice IQ of 7.78. “Although this difference seems small, IQ differences between 7.78 and 7.3 are most significant for children’s language ability and vocabulary,” said East. Depression often right after birth In the study, the researchers also looked at when the mothers were suffering from depression and what had led to it. Within the study period, about half of the mothers were classified as depressed. Many of them became ill in the first six months after birth but some of them continued to have the condition. From their data, the researchers conclude that about 20 percent of women with a one-year-old child develop chronic depression. “The mothers of the study were exposed to many stressors,” says East. “Most of them were educated but only went to school for nine years, were unemployed and often lived with the whole family in small, crowded homes – factors that were likely to contribute to their depression.”
Even more effects are possible For the researchers, one thing is clear: to improve the situation for the children, the mothers must be helped. “These results show that the early detection and treatment of maternal depression is the key,” states East. This can ensure that the children reach their full potential. For the researchers, the long-term study is far from over. In the future, they want to investigate whether mothers’ depression causes the same disease in their children as well. Even impact on academic achievement or overweight, the researchers consider possible. (Child Development, 2018)