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Psychopathology, mother-child interaction, and infant development: substance-abusing mothers and their offspring

by Leila Beckwith, Judy Howard, Michael Espinosa, Rachelle Tyler
Development and Psychopathology ()
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The course of severe depressive symptoms from pregnancy to 6 months postpartum, as well as the occurrence of severe paranoid symptoms prenatally, were examined by the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory I and the Beck Depression Inventory, in 78 women who were heavy, chronic cocaine users and who retained custody of their children after birth. Six months postpartum, the quality of caregiving was observed and assessed in the home, and the children were assessed on the Bayley MDI Index in the laboratory. Mothers who were depressed and paranoid prenatally, regardless of whether the depression continued to 6 months postpartum, were less sensitive in caregiving than women without severe symptoms of paranoia or depression during pregnancy or those who reported only depression that lifted by 6 months postpartum. Mothers who were depressed prenatally and continued to be depressed by 6 months postpartum, regardless of the presence or absence of paranoia, had infants who earned lower Bayley MDI scores than the offspring of women without severe psychological symptoms or women whose depression had lifted. Severe depressive symptoms during pregnancy, if they did not continue to 6 months postpartum, did not appear to adversely influence either caregiving or infant functioning.

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