Project: Research project

Project Details


Infants of mothers who remain depressed beyond the infants' first few
postpartum months develop depressed behavior during early interactions with
their mothers and experience later developmental delays. The proposed
three-year investigation has two basic purposes: 1) to determine the
combined effects of prematurity and maternal depression on infant
development and 2) to identify those factors which predict continued
depression in mothers past the first months following birth. The study
involves the development of a risk index to determine the likelihood that
mothers depressed during early infancy will continue to be depressed during
middle infancy. For this study, 300 mothers will be assigned to one of
four groups based on their reported depression and having a premature
infant (30-36 weeks gestational age); 1500-2500g birthweight; and presence
of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). After approximately 30% attrition
over the 6 month follow-up period these groups will each include about 50
mother-infant dyads and will represent the four possible combinations f
depressed mothers with premature infants, non-depressed mothers with
premature infants, depressed mothers with fullterm infants, and non-
depressed mothers with fullterms. Mothers and infants will be seen at
three periods: postpartum period, 3 months postpartum, and 6 months
postpartum. Measures taken will include indices of depression, anxiety and
social support for the mothers, as well as psychophysiological indices of
catecholamines, EMG and EEG. Mother-infant interactions will be observed
as well. Measures taken for the infants will include sleep/wake state
behaviors, temperament, the Brazelton (at the neonatal period), and a urine
sample for catecholamines. Most of the same measures will be taken at each
period, although heart rate and cortisol levels will be assessed along with
the interaction data at 3 and 6 months.
Effective start/end date2/1/911/31/93


  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


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