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Title: Antenatal depression and infant sleep : investigating the pathways to risk
Author: Netsi, Elena
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Introduction: Maternal antenatal depression has been associated with an increased risk of offspring psychopathology and more recently with disturbed infant sleep; in particular, shorter sleep duration, more awakenings and sleep problems. The exact mechanisms through which risk may be transmitted remain unknown, as does the question of whether all infants are equally susceptible to the effects of antenatal depression. The primary objectives of this thesis were to examine: i) The role of two potential moderators on the association between antenatal depression and infant sleep: infant reactive temperament and the serotonin transporter polymorphism 5-HTTLPR ii) The association between antenatal depression and infant sleep using objective behavioural and physiological measures. iii) Infant sleep and temperament in a pilot randomised controlled trial (RCT) following treatment of antenatal depression Methods i) The role of infant reactivity and 5-HTTLPR as potential moderators was examined in two large longitudinal cohorts: the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents And Children (ALSPAC) and the Generation R study, based in the UK and The Netherlands respectively (n=8,991 and n=2,441). ii) An Oxford based pilot longitudinal family study (n=16) iii) A pilot randomised controlled trial of women with antenatal depression who received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Care as Usual (n=25). Results i) There was evidence that reactive temperament moderated the association between antenatal depression and infant sleep; boys seemed to be most affected exhibiting more awakenings, sleep problems and shorter sleep duration. 5-HTTLPR did not moderate this association. ii) Antenatal depression was associated with shorter infant sleep duration 5 months postpartum iii) Improvement in depression was associated with shorter infant sleep duration and easier temperament 2 months postpartum Conclusion: This thesis suggests that not all infants are equally susceptible to environmental influences and this may prove important in targeting interventions. The role of genetic factors in conferring any susceptibility remains unclear. Actigraphy offering accurate representation of activity levels and timing during the day and night was a significant methodological advantage, but recruitment to a study incorporating these proved challenging. Finally, psychological interventions during pregnancy appear to have beneficial effects for child development.
Supervisor: Ramchandani, Paul G.; Wulff, Katharina Sponsor: Medical Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychiatry ; Child and adolescent psychiatry ; Psychology ; Developmental psychology ; antenatal ; depression ; infant ; sleep ; parent and child ; perinatal mental health ; perinatal