Maternal depressed mood and perceptions of child temperament

J Genet Psychol. 1990 Sep;151(3):329-39. doi: 10.1080/00221325.1990.9914621.


Research has suggested that women who experience postpartum depression are subsequently more likely to perceive their preschool-aged children as temperamentally difficult and maladjusted. However, previous studies have not controlled for the effects of concurrent depression levels on maternal ratings of child temperament or evaluated the accuracy of maternal reports. In the present study we assessed maternal and paternal ratings of child temperament 2 years after subjects had participated in a study of postpartum depression. The findings indicate that correlations between postpartum depression and subsequent child temperament ratings were accounted for statistically by concurrent levels of depression. Although fathers' ratings corroborated some aspects of maternal perceptions, levels of parental agreement were only moderately high. Moreover, discrepancies between the parents' reports were significantly associated with maternal depression, indicating that parental disagreement is more likely when the wife is dysphoric.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Pregnancy
  • Puerperal Disorders / psychology*
  • Temperament*