The persisting effect of maternal mood in pregnancy on childhood psychopathology.

TitleThe persisting effect of maternal mood in pregnancy on childhood psychopathology.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsO'Donnell K, Glover V, Barker ED, O'Connor TG
JournalDev Psychopathol
Volume26
Issue2
Pagination393-403
Date Published2014 May
ISSN1469-2198
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Anxiety, Child, Child, Preschool, Depressive Disorder, Female, Humans, Male, Mental Disorders, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Prospective Studies, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Surveys and Questionnaires
Abstract

Developmental or fetal programming has emerged as a major model for understanding the early and persisting effects of prenatal exposures on the health and development of the child and adult. We leverage the power of a 14-year prospective study to examine the persisting effects of prenatal anxiety, a key candidate in the developmental programming model, on symptoms of behavioral and emotional problems across five occasions of measurement from age 4 to 13 years. The study is based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children cohort, a prospective, longitudinal study of a large community sample in the west of England (n = 7,944). Potential confounders included psychosocial and obstetric risk, postnatal maternal mood, paternal pre- and postnatal mood, and parenting. Results indicated that maternal prenatal anxiety predicted persistently higher behavioral and emotional symptoms across childhood with no diminishment of effect into adolescence. Elevated prenatal anxiety (top 15%) was associated with a twofold increase in risk of a probable child mental disorder, 12.31% compared with 6.83%, after allowing for confounders. Results were similar with prenatal depression. These analyses provide some of the strongest evidence to date that prenatal maternal mood has a direct and persisting effect on her child's psychiatric symptoms and support an in utero programming hypothesis.

DOI10.1017/S0954579414000029
Alternate JournalDev. Psychopathol.
PubMed ID24621564
Grant ListR01 MH073842 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
092731 / / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom
/ / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
102215 / / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom
MC_PC_15018 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
/ / Wellcome Trust / United Kingdom