Prenatal depression effects on the foetus and neonate in different ethnic and socio-economic status groups

T. Field, M. Diego, M. Hernandez-Reif, S. Schanberg, C. Kuhn, R. Yando, D. Bendell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The questions addressed in this study were whether prenatal depression effects on the foetus and neonate varied by ethnicity and socio-economic status. Eighty-six depressed pregnant women were compared by ethnic group, Hispanic and African-American, and by socio-economic status (upper/lower) on prenatal and neonatal outcome variables. The Hispanic mothers were older, had a higher SES and had higher prenatal norepinephrine levels. Their foetuses were also more active. At the neonatal period they had higher anger scores, but also higher serotonin levels, and their infants had higher dopamine and lower cortisol levels and they spent less time in deep and indeterminate sleep. The comparison by middle/lower socio-economic status revealed that the middle SES group was older, had more social support and showed less depressed affect but had higher norepiephrine levels prenatally. At the postnatal period the middle SES mothers had lower depression, anxiety and anger scores and lower norepinephrine levels. Their infants also had lower norepinephrine levels, fewer postnatal complications and were less excitable on the Neonatal Behaviour Assessment Scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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