Four Month Old Infants' Temperament, Health Problems, and Development According to Maternal Postpartum Depression in Korea

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Kyung-Sook Bang, PhD, RN
College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the incidence rate of postpartum depression in Korea.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the impact of maternal depression on the infant's health and development.

Purpose: Mothers’ postpartum depression can cause compromising effects on their in­fants’ health and development. This study was conducted to compare the infants’ temperament, health problems and development according to the presence of maternal postpartum depression at one month and four months of age.

Methods: Data were collected from May 2009 to January 2010. The sample of 137 mothers at one month postpartum was followed up and 65 mothers responded at four months. The Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) was used to assess depressive symptoms. Developmental scores were measured with Prescreening Developmental Questionnaire (PDQ).

Results: At one month postpartum, 22.6% of mothers and at four months, 15.4% of mothers were classified as having postpartum depression. Infants of depressed mothers were more frequently classified as difficult temperament infants at one month, but not at four months. However, infants of depressed mothers showed lower scores on the total temperament scores of amenability, reactivity, and rhythmicity (t=2.145, p=.036). Also, infants of depressed mothers reported more infant health problems at one month (t=2.47, p=.015) and four months (t=2.28, p=.026), and showed lower developmental score at four months (t=3.84, p<.001).

Conclusion: Study findings show that postpartum maternal depression is associated with infants’ temperament, health, and development. Therefore, screening and early interventions for postpartum depression would be necessary and will promote the health of both the mother and infant.