From Early Childhood to Maturity
National Institute of Mental Health, Washington DC
The study presented in this book imposes a developmental perspective on the psychopathology of offspring of depressed mothers. A primary theme is the interplay of factors in child (developmental stage, gender, temperament) and environment (depressed mother�s symptomatic behavior and family functioning) as contributors to psychiatric and psychosocial problems in offspring. Children and their families are followed from toddlerhood to the threshold of adulthood. The emergence and evolution of problems differ by mother�s diagnosis - unipolar and bipolar depressed as well. Configurations of variables in the individual child are identified which, in combination, create diverse processes that put offspring at risk for specific problems. Early depressed mother-child relationships are strongly influential. Specific affective and temperament qualities of mother and child act reciprocally, increasing. The longitudinal data grasp the nature of connectedness of early experience to ongoing development, and identify patterns of child-to-adult connections. Findings suggest new questions and revised research paradigms.
1. Orientation and themes; 2. An overview of objectives and approach; 3. Questions and answers in the Literature; 4. The research design and procedures; 5. Children of depressed mothers - case descriptions; 6. The development of children of depressed and well mothers: group analyses; 7. The development of children of depressed and well mothers: longitudinal analyses of individual development; 8. Children�s problems in relation to characteristics of mother�s depression and illness history; 9. Family environments - case descriptions; 10. Family environments of depression; 11. Depressed parents - case descriptions; 12. The depressed mother as environment; 13. The child as a variable in development and outcome; 14. Common and diverse pathways, mechanisms, and outcomes; 15. Prediction and understanding of development.