Background: The objectives of the present study were to explore whether maternal psychosocial factors, mental health and work stress around delivery, are related to the behavior of 2-year-old children.
Methods: In a prospective cohort study design, pregnant women attending the National Taiwan University Hospital for delivery and post-partum care from April 2004 to January 2005 were recruited and their children were observed at 24 months. A total of 186 mother-term-born child dyads completed the measurement. The five-item Mental Health Index (MHI-5) self-report data of maternal psychosocial factors were selected from the Taiwanese version of the short form 36 (SF-36). The Child Behavior Checklist for age 1½-5 (CBCL/1½-5) was completed by the parents when the child was 2 years old.
Results: The mean score of mental health around delivery was 68.11. The proportion of mothers with work stress seldom and always was 61.8% and 24.7%, respectively. The mean of the total CBCL score, and internalizing, externalizing behavior and sleep problems scores was 45.95, 11.89, 15.59 and 4.23, respectively. After adjusting for the potential confounders, maternal work stress around delivery was found to have a significant effect on the total CBCL and externalizing, attention and aggressive, behavioral problems of 2-year old children. Maternal mental health around delivery, however, did not show significant effects on child behavior.
Conclusions: Work stress around delivery seems to aggravate children's externalizing behavior problems at 2 years old. It is therefore important to improve the psychosocial health and reduce the stress of pregnant women.
© 2011 The Authors. Pediatrics International © 2011 Japan Pediatric Society.