The effects of postpartum depression on child development: a meta-analysis

Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 1998 Feb;12(1):12-20. doi: 10.1016/s0883-9417(98)80004-6.


The adverse, short-term effects of postpartum depression on maternal-infant interaction have been repeatedly documented. Are there long-term sequelae for children whose mothers had experienced postpartum depression? The purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine the magnitude of the effect of postpartum depression on the cognitive and emotional development of children older than the age of 1 year. Nine studies which met the sample criteria were included in this meta-analysis. Results indicated that postpartum depression had a small but significant effect on children's cognitive and emotional development. The r indicator for effect size ranged from .18 to .22 whereas the d indicator ranged from .36 to .45. Implications for future research are addressed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child of Impaired Parents / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition
  • Depression, Postpartum / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant