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Antenatal depression associated with increased risk of offspring maltreatment and psychopathology

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Does maternal antenatal depression increase risk of offspring developing psychopathology, and does childhood maltreatment influence this association?


120 women who had been randomly recruited into the South London Child Development Study while pregnant, and their children. 155 pregnant women were recruited initially, but 35 (22.6%) were lost to follow-up.


Inner city population, South London, UK; recruitment 1986.

Risk factors

Maternal depression (International Classification of Diseases-9) over the previous fortnight was assessed using the Clinical Interview Schedule at 36 weeks of gestation, and 3 and 12 months after the birth of the baby. Current and retrospective maternal depression (Research Diagnostic Criteria) was also assessed at 4, 11 and 16 years of age, respectively. Maternal history of childhood abuse, perceived emotional security with her family of origin, and juvenile conduct symptoms were also assessed, as was family stability. Children's exposure to maltreatment (physical or sexual abuse or harsh parenting) during the previous 3 months, and lifetime exposure to physical or sexual abuse, was assessed at age 11 years using combined reports …

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  • Sources of funding Medical Research Council UK.


  • Competing interests None.

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