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Mothers’ Antenatal Depression and Their Children’s Antisocial Outcomes


  • The SLCDS has been funded by the Medical Research Council UK Project Grants G89292999N and G9539876N awarded to the late Channi Kumar, Deborah Sharp, and Dale Hay; the Psychiatry Research Trust; and the South West G.P. Trust. The present data coding and analyses were partially supported by an Economic and Social Research Council studentship to Cerith S. Waters and Medical Research Council UK Programme Grant GO400086. We thank Helen Allen for her contribution to the retention of the sample, and the families who participated in the study for 16 years.

concerning this article should be addressed to Dale F. Hay, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Park Place, Cardiff, Wales, UK CF10 3AT. Electronic mail may be sent to


Interviews of 120 British adolescents and their parents (80% of a random sample of antenatal patients drawn from a representative urban population and followed longitudinally) revealed that 40 (33%) had been arrested and/or had a diagnosis of DSM–IV conduct disorder by 16 years of age; of those, 18 (45%) had committed violent acts. Depression in pregnancy significantly predicted violence in adolescence, even after controlling for the family environment, the child’s later exposure to maternal depression, the mother’s smoking and drinking during pregnancy, and parents’ antisocial behavior. Mothers with a history of conduct problems were at elevated risk to become depressed in pregnancy, and the offspring of depressed women had a greater chance of becoming violent by age 16.