Thursday, 10 April 2014

Common mental disorders in perinatal women and their children in rural Vietnam

DEPM's Thach Tran and Professor Jane Fisher have co authored a paper which looks at perinatal common mental disorders among women and the social and emotional development of their infants in rural Vietnam. The study found that women's antenatal and postnatal mental health is a crucial but currently inadequately understood determinant of the social and emotional development of infants in low-income settings.


The study recruited a cohort of pregnant women in rural northern Vietnam and followed them until 6 months postpartum. Psychosocial and biological data were collected in four assessment waves. The outcome was 6-month old infants' scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development Social-Emotional Questionnaire. Direct and indirect effects of maternal common mental disorders were tested simultaneously with path analysis.

There were no direct effects of ante or post-natal common mental disorders on infant Social-Emotional scores, however, there was an indirect pathway in which antenatal common mental disorders were associated with increased likelihood of postnatal mental disorders. This is associated with reduced parenting self-efficacy and less affectionate and warm parenting practices, which were associated with lower infant social-emotional scores. Parenting self-efficacy and practices also mediated the adverse effects of a woman being young or of high parity or experiencing poverty, intimate partner violence, a poor relationship with her own mother, non-economic life adversity and insufficient breast milk, on infant social-emotional development.


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