THE EFFECTS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION ON THE MOTHER-INFANT RELATIONSHIP AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT pp. 1-24
Authors: Deana B. Davalos, Alana M. Campbell and Amanda L. Pala
Abstract: During the last two decades there has been an increase in research focusing on the effects of maternal depression on the mother infant bond. Research in this field has apparently developed out of; a recognition of a relatively higher prevalence of postpartum maternal depression than once believed and recurring observations of differences in mother/infant relationships or infant behavior associated with maternal postpartum depression. The infant behaviors that have been implicated as resulting from this theoretically compromised mother infant relationship have included slight, transient effects on sociability and affective sharing to results suggesting significant increases in irritability, cognitive delays, behavioral problems, and difficulties with attachment, among others. Longitudinal data suggest that while some problems appear to resolve relatively quickly, there are some characteristics that endure long after infancy. Specifically, some researchers have argued that children and even adolescents who experienced problems bonding with their depressed mothers are at significantly greater risk of experiencing a variety of psychological symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and problems with addiction. Again, this view is controversial and others in the field link these increased risks to other factors such as low socioeconomic status or marital discord. While there appears to be consensus among most researchers in recognizing that there are likely effects of postpartum depression on mother infant bonding that affect early development, there is little consensus regarding the specific details of these effects. In our review, we will systematically analyze research focusing on the effects of postpartum depression on the mother infant bond and those variables that are believed to be affected from potential difficulties in this bond.