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Title: Maternal postnatal depression and anxiety in relation to 2 year old children's development of emotion regulation and attention
Author: Hadjianastassiou, Maria Zioga
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Background: Maternal postnatal depression, and to a lesser extent anxiety, have been associated with a range of child developmental difficulties which can persist beyond the postnatal period. However, there has been limited research on two key developmental domains, Emotion Regulation (ER) and Attention (AT). This thesis investigated whether compared to controls, maternal depression and anxiety, were associated with lower levels of child ER and AT at 2 years postnatally; and whether any influence persisted despite remission of the disorder. Potential mediating mechanisms were also examined. Method: Three groups (Major Depressive Disorder (N=49), Generalised Anxiety Disorder (N=78) and Controls (N=91» of mothers with their children were identified and followed up until the children reached 24 months of age (OPP 24m study). Detailed assessments of the children's ER and AT were obtained (direct laboratory observations and maternal reports). Data from the ALSPAC survey were also analysed to examine the thesis questions more broadly in a large cohort (N=9578) using maternal self-reported depression and anxiety and maternal reports of children's indicators of ER and AT at 24 months postnatally. Results: Both maternal diagnosed but also self-reported symptomatology of depression and anxiety were associated with poorer children's ER and AT, although problems in AT were shown through maternal reports only and not direct observation. The associations persisted despite remission of the maternal disorder. Maternal repetitive negative thoughts (cognition) and marital distress mediated disturbances in children's ER and AT due to maternal psychopathology. Conclusion: Maternal postnatal depression and anxiety may potentially put at risk key developmental areas of ER and AT during early toddlerhood. Further investigation is required to understand the complex nature of these associations
Supervisor: Stein, Alan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available