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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
10 Jul 2017
Adjunctive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) improves long-term outcomes compared with treatment as usual in patients with treatment-resistant depression, reports a recent study.
20 Feb 2018
Electroconvulsive therapy appears to be beneficial to patients with depression with psychotic features and to elderly people with depression, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.
19 Oct 2018
Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients are at a higher risk of suicide, reports a recent Taiwan study.
Roshini Claire Anthony, 17 Oct 2018

Individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who are treated with atomoxetine or methylphenidate may have a risk for elevated heart rate and systolic blood pressure (BP), according to a meta-analysis.