Monday, July 1, 2013

Child Care Could Help Shield Children From Effects of Maternal Depression

Not long ago, a little boy, referred to as "Nate," only smiled when he was in group child care. It was probably not surprising, a new population-based, longitudinal study suggests. Nate's mother was seriously depressed, and this new study has shown that if young children of depressed mothers are placed in early group child care, they have significantly fewer emotional and social problems than children of depressed mothers who are not placed in such care.

The study was headed by Catherine Herba, Ph.D., of the University of Quebec and published in JAMA Psychiatry. "Given that most of today's children experience child care during the preschool years, child care could potentially serve as a public health intervention strategy for high-risk children," the researchers suggested.

However, the positive impact exerted by group child care could not be found when children were cared for by a relative or babysitter. This may be because group child care includes a more-structured setting, care is provided by a trained professional, and the child is being exposed to other children of a similar age, the researchers said.

To read more about issues pertinent to maternal depression, see Psychiatric News here and here. Also see the American Journal of Psychiatry here.

(Image: Pavel L Photo and Video/


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