Maternal Postnatal Depressive Symptoms and Offspring Emotional and Behavioral Development at Age 7 Years in a U.K. Birth Cohort: The Role of Paternal Involvement

Iryna Culpin*, Gemma Hammerton, Alan Stein, Marc H. Bornstein, Henning Tiemeier, Tim Cadman, Eivor Fredriksen, Jonathan Evans, Tina Miller, Esther Dermott, Jon Heron, Hannah M. Sallis, Rebecca M. Pearson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

There is considerable variability in developmental outcomes of children whose mothers experience depression. Few longitudinal studies have examined contributions of paternal involvement in the association between maternal postnatal depression (PND) and offspring development. We examined pathways from maternal PND at 8 weeks (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; total score) to offspring emotional and behavioral development at 7 years (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire; total score) through behavioral, affective, and cognitive dimensions of paternal involvement in a U.K.-based birth cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children; n = 3,434). Analyses were adjusted for baseline confounders and paternal PND (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; total score) as an intermediate confounder. Maternal PND was strongly associated with offspring development, but this association was not mediated by the combination of all indirect pathways through various dimensions of paternal involvement. Only father–child conflict emerged as a risk factor for adverse offspring development and as a mediator in the association between maternal PND and offspring development (albeit the effect size was small). If found causal, interventions that reduce father–child conflict may reduce the risk of adverse development in offspring of mothers with PND.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)770–785
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume59
Issue number4
Early online date17 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Alspac
  • Maternal postnatal depression
  • Offspring development
  • Paternal involvement
  • Paternal postnatal depression

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