October 30, 2013

Young kids affected by mum's depression

[Posted: Mon 28/10/2013 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]

Children as young as 18 months can show signs of emotional problems and disruptive behaviours if their mothers suffer with depression and anxiety, a new study has found.

According to Norwegian scientists, their findings ‘emphasise the importance of health professionals spotting mental health problems in the mother and/or the child as early as possible'.

The results are based on data from an ongoing study of mental health in children, teenagers and their families in Norway. Mothers report on their own mental health and the behaviour of their children at five different stages, starting when the children are 18 months, through to when they are 12 years. The children are then questioned themselves when they are 14 and 16 years of age.

The study found that if a mother reported high levels of depression and anxiety early in their child's life, that child had an increased risk of experiencing emotional problems and disruptive behaviour during their childhood

The child was also more likely to report symptoms of depression during adolescence.

The study also found that this link was already present when the child was only 18 months old.

The scientists suggested that health check-ups during a child's early life are the prefect time for professionals to spot potential problems in both the mother and child ‘and introduce early preventive measures against the development of mental health problems'.

Details of these findings are published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics