Mother’s Depression May Produce Child’s ADHD
A study out of the University of Manitoba conducted by Ann Guevremont MEd. and Marni Bromwell PhD. concluded that depression in a woman occurring at anytime between one year before and nine years after birth is a risk factor for the child later developing ADHD. They also found the chances of the child developing ADHD is greater the more chronic the depression. In fact, maternal depression increased the chances 1.5 -2 fold.
I’m not sure what to make of this information. There have been previous studies linking maternal depression and ADHD, but this is the first that has established a time frame for which the maternal depression impacts the child.
This data suggests that ADHD is not solely biological since the mother’s mental condition even after birth can influence the development of ADHD. It makes me wonder how much of a role maternal nurturance and attention to the child play in the child’s ability to focus and attend to things. If a depressed mother doesn’t pay enough attention to her child because she is depressed, does the child compensate for this in a way that causes them to have trouble with attention or impulsivity?
Many more questions need to be answered about this. But for now, it emphasizes the importance of mental health before and after pregnancy. Many women go undiagnosed and suffer silently. But knowing a mother’s mental state can have a far reaching impact on her family, perhaps more women will talk with their doctors about how they feel and more clinicians will be more vigilant in screening for maternal depression even years after childbirth.