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Depressed Moms' Kids at Higher Injury Risk

Boys, especially, were also more likely to 'act out', study found

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Young children of depressed mothers are at heightened risk for behavioral problems and injury, new research shows.

A team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center looked at 1992-1994 data on more than 1,100 mother/child pairs taking part in the National Longitudinal Study of Youth.

During the study period, 94 of the children (all under age 6) suffered injuries serious enough to require medical attention. Two-thirds of the injuries occurred at home.

Children of mothers who had persistently high scores on measures of depression symptoms were more than twice as likely to be injured as children of mothers with low scores of depression symptoms.

The study also found that children (especially boys) of mothers with high depression scores were much more likely to have behavioral problems and to "act out."

The researchers concluded that every one point increase on a mother's depression score was associated with a 4 percent increased risk of injury and a 6 percent increased risk of behavioral problems in children.

That held true even after the researchers took into account a number of major factors, such as household income, health insurance coverage and level of education.

Depression in mothers may increase the risk of behavioral problems in children and, in turn, boost youngsters' risk of injury, said the study authors, who added that depression in mothers may also result in less supervision of children or increased number of injury hazards in the home.

The study was published in the journal Injury Prevention.

More information

Mental Health America has more about women and depression.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals, news release, Dec. 4, 2007

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