Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Maternal depression and childhood injuries

A study of 1,364 mothers in the U.S. examined the links between maternal depression and children's injuries. The mothers were periodically asked to list all their children's injuries that had required professional medical treatment, and, on four separate occasions during the study, asked to rate how often they experienced symptoms of depression. 2.5% of the mothers reported severe, clinical depression with 15.5% reporting being moderately depressed. The children between 0-3 whose mothers suffered from severe, chronic depression were three times more likely to suffer accidental injuries than infants and toddlers whose mothers were only moderately depressed. The link between severe, chronic depression and injuries remained consistent even when taking into account socio-economic status, parenting styles and the children's sex, temperament and behaviour. However, between three and starting school the levels of injuries were the same in the severely and moderately-depressed women. The researchers hypothesized that the severely depressed women were less able to provide a safe environment for their children but that this became less important as the children grew old and were more able to make their own decisions about safety and danger.

You can read more about this research at

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