Depression in mothers

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2007:3:107-35. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.3.022806.091401.


Whether one takes a biological, psychological, or psychosocial perspective, depression in mothers raises concerns about risks for the development of psychopathology in the children. This review addresses the complexity of that risk and the essential role of development in a model that explains processes of transmission. This article addresses the following aims: (a) to provide convincing evidence that depression in mothers is an important topic for clinical psychologists; (b) to summarize current theoretical models of mechanisms of risk for the development of psychopathology in children of depressed mothers and the status of empirical support for those models; (c) to examine the theoretical bases and current status of evidence for moderators of this risk; (d) to argue for the advantages to be gained from a developmental psychopathology perspective on this topic; and (e) to point to future directions for theory, research, and practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / genetics
  • Depressive Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology