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. 2016 Jun;25(6):601-13.
doi: 10.1007/s00787-015-0777-2. Epub 2015 Sep 28.

Maternal Psychological Distress in Primary Care and Association With Child Behavioural Outcomes at Age Three

Free PMC article

Maternal Psychological Distress in Primary Care and Association With Child Behavioural Outcomes at Age Three

Stephanie L Prady et al. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article


Observational studies indicate children whose mothers have poor mental health are at increased risk of socio-emotional behavioural difficulties, but it is unknown whether these outcomes vary by the mothers' mental health recognition and treatment status. To examine this question, we analysed linked longitudinal primary care and research data from 1078 women enrolled in the Born in Bradford cohort. A latent class analysis of treatment status and self-reported distress broadly categorised women as (a) not having a common mental disorder (CMD) that persisted through pregnancy and the first 2 years after delivery (N = 756, 70.1 %), (b) treated for CMD (N = 67, 6.2 %), or (c) untreated (N = 255, 23.7 %). Compared to children of mothers without CMD, 3-year-old children with mothers classified as having untreated CMD had higher standardised factor scores on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (d = 0.32), as did children with mothers classified as having treated CMD (d = 0.27). Results were only slightly attenuated in adjusted analyses. Children of mothers with CMD may be at risk for socio-emotional and behavioural difficulties. The development of effective treatments for CMD needs to be balanced by greater attempts to identify and treat women.

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Health inequality; Latent class methods; Maternal mental health; Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Latent classification of maternal mental health. Dashed line probability of having treatment noted in the GP record. Solid line probability of scoring at or over the 75th centile threshold for self-reported measures
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Standardised SDQ factor scores at age three by latent classification of maternal mental health. Drop bars are 95 % CI; statistically significant effect sizes in bold

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