Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Depression and child abuse

A new study of 5,500 families by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health has found a link between mothers' depression and their acts of aggression towards their children. The study used data from a national survey of 5,500 families who had been involved in child-abuse investigations. The mothers completed a standard questionnaire for depression at the start of the study and again after 18 months, and after three years. The mothers were also asked about instances of abuse over the past year including physical abuse, neglect and psychological aggression. The study found that when a mother developed depression the odds of her children suffering "psychologically-aggressive acts," including threats and name calling increased. Mothers who reported an increase in abuse from their partner were more likely to report physical abuse and neglect of their children while mothers whose partners were not abusive reported a decrease in psychologically-aggressive behaviour towards their children.

You can find out more about this research at


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