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Gender differences and comorbidity of child behavioral adjustment in families with and without depressed mothers

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 — Poster Session II

Noon – 2:00 p.m

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • C. M. Padilla
  • E. P. Horn
  • D. L. Putnick
  • N. Manian
  • M. H. Bornstein


Maternal depression has been associated with higher reports of child problem behaviors. The current study examines the effects of maternal postnatal depression on behavioral adjustment in children from 15 to 24 months of age. Mothers were classified as clinically depressed (N = 48) or nondepressed (N = 122) when infants were 5 months based on the Beck Depression Inventory and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. At 15 months, depressed mothers had remitted. At 15 and 24 months, mothers and fathers reported on infant socioemotional problems. Children with mothers who were depressed during the first 5 months of life experienced more behavioral problems at 15 and 24 months. Behavior problems in the groups did not change in mean level across time, and children who had more behavior problems at 15 months had more behavior problems at 24 months. Mothers and fathers agreed in their assessments of child socioemotional problems. Fathers reported more externalizing behaviors for boys than for girls at 15 and 24 months. Father reports of internalizing and externalizing were mildly correlated at 15 and 24 months. These findings highlight the need for early interventions for depressed mothers, even if depression remits.

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