Depressed mothers and their children

Authors

  • M. EISENBRUCH MD

    National Health & Medical Research Council Research Fellow, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
      M. Eisenbruch, Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.
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M. Eisenbruch, Department of Child and Family Psychiatry, Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.

Abstract

Abstract This paper reviews the current state of research on the relationship between depressed mothers and their children. Several issues are considered: how depressed women function as mothers; the possible origins of depression in the childhood experiences of the mothers; the impact of maternal depression upon the child; the potential consequences for the child's ultimate development; the induction in the child of a depression and the causes of depression in children; the interaction between depressed mothers and their children; and the question of whether there are certain children invulnerable to their mothers’depression. Based on the author's intensive case-design study of 10 mother-child dyads, a model of the interaction between the depressed mother and her child is described. The implications are considered in terms of the need for further research on outcome, risk, and vulnerability, the application to paediatrics, and the broader social and cultural considerations.

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