Chronic Maternal Depression and Children's Injury Risk

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ObjectiveA substantial number of mothers of young children suffer from depression. One understudied consequence of maternal depression is how it affects toddlers’ injury risk. This study examined links between chronic maternal depression and child injury.MethodsA national sample of 1,364 American children was studied.ResultsChronic levels of severe maternal depression placed children at increased risk of concurrent injury from birth to age 3. The relation between chronic, severe maternal depression and child injury risk held even after controlling for variance from family SES, child sex, child temperament and externalizing behavior, and parenting. Chronic maternal depression during infancy and toddlerhood did not influence children's subsequent risk for injury, between age 3 and first grade. Less severe symptoms of chronic maternal depression were unrelated to concurrent or future child injury.ConclusionsChronic, severe levels of maternal depression are linked to concurrent child injury risk during infancy and toddlerhood.

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