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Maternal depression, intimate partner violence tied to adverse child development

08 Jul 2018

Depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence (IPV) in mothers appear to have adverse effects on nutritional and developmental outcomes in children, a study reports.

Researchers examined 1,031 children aged 18–36 months using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development and anthropometric measures. Maternal exposure to IPV and depression were evaluated using the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey questionnaire and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9, respectively.

Linear regression models showed mild depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 ≥5) in mothers to be associated with lower standardized mean differences (SMDs) for developmental outcomes in children, including motor skills (−0.14; p=0.023) and receptive communication (−0.19; p<0.009).

Meanwhile, maternal exposure to physical and sexual IPV correlated with lower SMDs for motor skills (−0.23; p<0.01), expressive communication (−0.23; p<0.01), receptive communication (−0.16; p=0.03) and cognitive development (−0.12; p=0.07).

Furthermore, generalized linear models revealed an association between maternal exposure to physical and sexual IPV and a heightened risk of child stunting (relative risk, 1.6; p<0.001).

The present data suggest that development and nutritional status of children are affected by multiple factors related to complex psychosocial relationships, researchers said. As such, children with developmental delays must be aptly referred for further evaluation, and physicians should be aware not only of physiologic ailments but also of psychosocial determinants of health, such as maternal depression and IPV, that might be affecting their growth and development.

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Most Read Articles
02 Sep 2018
The combination of maternal pregestational diabetes mellitus plus severe obesity is associated with a heightened risk of several psychiatric and mild neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring compared with either obesity or diabetes alone, a study suggests.
Rachel Soon, 30 Nov 2017

A care management program conducted via telephone for caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia is associated with improved outcomes for both patients and carers, according to a new study in the United States.

07 Sep 2018
Individuals with attention deficiency hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety are at greater risk of developing bipolar disorder, according to a study. Moreover, the risk further increases in those who have received diagnoses of both ADHD and anxiety.
Roshini Claire Anthony, 06 Apr 2016
A diagnosis of depression increases the risk of mortality and hospital readmission due to myocardial infarction (MI) in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a Canadian study presented at the recent American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session in Chicago, Illinois, US.