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Maternal depression symptoms, unhealthy diet and child emotional–behavioural dysregulation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 December 2014

L. Pina-Camacho
Affiliation:
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK CIBERSAM, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, Madrid, Spain
S. K. Jensen
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
D. Gaysina
Affiliation:
Rudd Centre for Adoption Research and Practice, School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
E. D. Barker*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK
*Corresponding
* Address for correspondence: Edward D. Barker, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. (Email: ted.barker@kcl.ac.uk)

Abstract

Background

Maternal depression and unhealthy diet are well-known risk factors for adverse child emotional–behavioural outcomes, but their developmental relationships during the prenatal and postnatal periods are largely uncharted. This study sought to examine the inter-relationships between maternal depression symptoms and unhealthy diet (assessed during pregnancy and postnatal periods) in relation to child emotional–behavioural dysregulation (assessed at the ages of 2, 4 and 7 years).

Method

In a large prospective birth cohort of 7814 mother–child pairs, path analysis was used to examine the independent and inter-related associations of maternal depression symptoms and unhealthy diet with child dysregulation.

Results

Higher prenatal maternal depression symptoms were prospectively associated with higher unhealthy diet, both during pregnancy and the postnatal period, which, in turn, was associated with higher child dysregulation up to the age of 7 years. In addition, during pregnancy, higher maternal depression symptoms and unhealthy diet were each independently associated with higher child dysregulation up to the age of 7 years. These results were robust to other prenatal, perinatal and postnatal confounders (such as parity and birth complications, poverty, maternal education, etc.).

Conclusions

Maternal depression symptoms and unhealthy diet show important developmental associations, but are also independent risk factors for abnormal child development.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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