Mom's Mental Health Woes Can Pass to Kids
The children of mothers who have mental health, substance abuse or domestic violence problems a year after delivery are more likely to experience behavioral problems at age 3, a U.S. study finds.
In their three-year study, researchers at Mathematica Policy Research Inc., in Princeton, N.J., followed nearly 2,800 children born in 18 large U.S. cities.
A year after delivery, half the mothers had a condition in at least one of the three categories -- mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence -- and 22 percent of the children had at least one type of behavior problem such as aggression, anxiety-depression, or inattention/hyperactivity. The more problems reported by a mother, the more likely her child was to develop behavior problems by age 3.
The study appears in the May issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
However, "there is evidence that mothers appear open to empathic inquiries about how they are doing, and that mothers also understand that their own well-being is related to that of their children," the study authors wrote.