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01-04-2013 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2013

Child Psychiatry & Human Development 2/2013

Do Antenatal and Postnatal Parental Psychological Distress, and Recognized Need of Help Predict Preadolescent’s Psychiatric Symptoms? The Finnish Family Competence Cohort Study

Child Psychiatry & Human Development > Uitgave 2/2013
Leena Pihlakoski, Andre Sourander, Minna Aromaa, John A. Rönning, Päivi Rautava, Hans Helenius, Matti Sillanpää


In a prospective population-based study, mothers and fathers of 1,247 children reported their physical and mental health during pregnancy, after delivery, within the child’s first 18 months of life, and at 12 years. Additionally, maternal health clinic nurses rated parents’ well-being and perceived need for support. At age 12, child outcomes were also measured using CBCL and YSR externalizing and internalizing scales. Results indicate that both ante- and postnatal maternal distress predicted future externalizing problems in offspring. Conversely, fathers’ postnatal distress predicted subsequent internalizing problems. Furthermore, mother’s depressed mood in the first trimester best predicted the child’s externalizing problems at age 12. Nurses’s ratings of mother’s antenatal and perinatal need for support, perinatal distress, and family’s need for support were associated with both internalizing and externalizing problems at age 12. Maternal antenatal distress increases the risk of offspring’s externalizing problems in preadolescense, and postnatal distress in either parent increases the risk of internalizing problems. Parental self-reports and indirect ratings from health care providers during pregnancy and infancy may therefore reliably recognize offspring at risk for subsequent psychiatric symptomatology.

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