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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
Dr. Joseph Delano Fule Robles, 30 Jan 2019

Five subtypes of insomnia disorder were identified by investigators from The Netherlands, addressing an unmet need to reduce the heterogeneity of insomnia disorder.

01 Feb 2019
Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delays are more likely to be overweight or obese by age 5 years, a recent study has found.
28 Jan 2019
Following a healthy diet and avoiding Western dietary patterns may improve the mental health of manufacturing employees, a recent study has shown.