Parental and family characteristics have been clearly documented as influential on child development and particular attention has been paid to early parenting. Specifically, a considerable literature documents the negative effects of early maternal depression on child development, mental health, and successful adjustment. Much less focus has been placed on the effects of paternal depression or the nature of depression within a family system. Preliminary studies have suggested that parental relationship may play a key role in both explaining the apparent correlation between parents'levels of depressive symptomatology and decrements in child functioning. The current pilot project will enroll 80 mother/father pairs in a prospective cohort design that will measure depression, parental relationship quality, coparenting, and early parenting experiences prenatally and at 1, 3, and 9 months postnatally. By using this design, the present study will describe the course and change dynamics in early parental depression in both parents as well as the role that relationship and coparenting disturbance plays in perpetuating depression within a family system. Moreover, these factors, taken together will be examined for effects on early coparenting and parenting experiences, which are critical mechanisms through which parental depression presumably conveys its negative effects to child functioning.
Child health and development is strongly influenced by early parenting quality, which is itself sensitive to parental distress and depressive disorders. Considerable evidence suggests that early maternal depression is a major risk factor for poor child outcomes including child emotional and behavioral disturbances. New information suggests that the same may be true for early paternal depression and, moreover, that depression may correlate between partners. The proposed study will benefit the public health through providing information about the dynamics of depression in new families, along with potential risk factors and leverage points for the development of intervention and prevention strategies for new parents.
|Paulson, James F; Bazemore, Sharnail D; Goodman, Janice H et al. (2016) The course and interrelationship of maternal and paternal perinatal depression. Arch Womens Ment Health 19:655-63|