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Positive maternal mental health during pregnancy associated with specific forms of adaptive development in early childhood: Evidence from a longitudinal study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 November 2017

Desiree Y. Phua
Affiliation:
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
Michelle K. Z. L. Kee
Affiliation:
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
Dawn X. P. Koh
Affiliation:
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
Anne Rifkin-Graboi
Affiliation:
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
Mary Daniels
Affiliation:
KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore
Helen Chen
Affiliation:
KK Women's and Children's Hospital, Singapore
Yap Seng Chong
Affiliation:
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences National University of Singapore
Birit F. P. Broekman
Affiliation:
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
Iliana Magiati
Affiliation:
National University of Singapore
Neerja Karnani
Affiliation:
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences National University of Singapore
Michael Pluess
Affiliation:
Queen Mary University
Michael J. Meaney*
Affiliation:
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences McGill University
*
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Michael J. Meaney, Sackler Program for Epigenetics & Psychobiology, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, 6875 Boul LaSalle, Montreal, Quebec H4H 1R3, Canada; E-mail: michael.meaney@mcgill.ca.

Abstract

The quality of prenatal maternal mental health, from psychological stress and depressive symptoms to anxiety and other nonpsychotic mental disorders, profoundly affects fetal neurodevelopment. Despite the evidence for the influence of positive mental well-being on health, there is, to our knowledge, no research examining the possible effects of positive antenatal mental health on the development of the offspring. Using exploratory bifactor analysis, this prospective study (n = 1,066) demonstrated the feasibility of using common psychiatric screening tools to examine the effect of positive maternal mental health. Antenatal mental health was assessed during 26th week of pregnancy. The effects on offspring were assessed when the child was 12, 18, and 24 months old. Results showed that positive antenatal mental health was uniquely associated with the offspring's cognitive, language and parentally rated competences. This study shows that the effects of positive maternal mental health are likely to be specific and distinct from the sheer absence of symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Type
Special Issue Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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Footnotes

The Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes (GUSTO) Study is funded by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its Translational and Clinical Research Flagship Programme and administered by the Singapore Ministry of Health's National Medical Research Council (Singapore NMRC/TCR/004-NUS/2008 and NMRC/TCR/012-NUHS/2014). Additional funding is provided by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Agency for Science Technology and Research. We acknowledge additional funding from the Toxic Stress Network of the JPB Foundation and the Sackler Foundation (to M.J.M.). We thank the GUSTO Study group and all clinical and home visit staff involved. The voluntary participation of all participants is greatly appreciated. The GUSTO study group includes Pratibha Agarwal, Arijit Biswas, Choon Looi Bong, Shirong Cai, Jerry Kok Yen Chan, Yiong Huak Chan, Cornelia Yin Ing Chee, Yin Bun Cheung, Audrey Chia, Amutha Chinnadurai, Chai Kiat Chng, Mary Foong-Fong Chong, Shang Chee Chong, Mei Chien Chua, Chun Ming Ding, Eric Andrew Finkelstein, Doris Fok, Keith M. Godfrey, Anne Eng Neo Goh, Yam Thiam Daniel Goh, Joshua J. Gooley, Wee Meng Han, Mark Hanson, Christiani Jeyakumar Henry, Joanna D. Holbrook, Chin-Ying Hsu, Hazel Inskip, Jeevesh Kapur, Ivy Yee-Man Lau, Bee Wah Lee, Yung Seng Lee, Ngee Lek, Sok Bee Lim, Yen-Ling Low, Iliana Magiati, Lourdes Mary Daniel, Cheryl Ngo, Krishnamoorthy Naiduvaje, Wei Wei Pang, Boon Long Quah, Victor Samuel Rajadurai, Mary Rauff, Salome A. Rebello, Jenny L. Richmond, Lynette Pei-Chi Shek, Allan Sheppard, Borys Shuter, Leher Singh, Shu-E Soh, Walter Stunkel, Lin Lin Su, Kok Hian Tan, Oon Hoe Teoh, Mya Thway Tint, Hugo P S van Bever, Rob M. van Dam, Inez Bik Yun Wong, P. C. Wong, Fabian Yap, and George Seow Heong Yeo.

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