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Maternal depression and the emotional availability of mothers at six months postpartum: Findings from the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS) pregnancy cohort.

MacMillan, K.K., Lewis, A.J.ORCID: 0000-0002-2519-7976, Watson, S.J.ORCID: 0000-0001-7228-3490 and Galbally, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-3909-1918 (2020) Maternal depression and the emotional availability of mothers at six months postpartum: Findings from the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study (MPEWS) pregnancy cohort. Journal of Affective Disorders, 266 . pp. 678-685.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.01.109
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Abstract

Background
Existing research suggests maternal depression may reduce the quality of early mother-infant interaction and this might increase our understanding of how maternal mental health impacts on child development outcomes. However, most studies recruit from community samples and few include both a diagnostic measure of maternal depression together with an observational measure of the quality of the mother-infant relationship.

Methods
Data was drawn from 210 women recruited in early pregnancy until 6 months postpartum within an Australian pregnancy cohort, the Mercy Pregnancy and Emotional Wellbeing Study. Those women who at six months postpartum were video recorded interacting with their infant for at least 40-minutes were included in this study, with the quality of those interactions assessed using the Emotional Availability Scales coding system. Depression was measured using the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-IV-TR Clinician Version and the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, and covariates included maternal age and education.

Results
Whilst results showed a small negative association between antenatal depressive symptoms in trimester one of pregnancy and maternal EA, there was no effect of maternal depression diagnosis or of maternal depressive symptoms in later pregnancy or postpartum.

Limitations
This study focuses exclusively on mothers and does not account for the role of partners.

Conclusions
Maternal depression might have a smaller effect on maternal EA then some existing research implies, with that effect most prevalent in early pregnancy. Clinical intervention might not be necessary for all mother-infant dyads experiencing depressive symptomology, but instead be directed to those with additional risk factors.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2020 Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/54847
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