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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(12), 1566; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14121566

Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Child Behavior among Mexican Women and Their Children

1
Country Doctor Community Health Centers and Swedish Cherry Hill Family Medicine Residency, Seattle, WA 98122, USA
2
Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
3
Division of Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 November 2017 / Revised: 27 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Health Needs of Vulnerable Children: Challenges and Solutions)
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Abstract

Over 50% of mothers in rural Mexico have high depressive symptoms, and their children’s health and development are likely to be negatively affected. A critical question is whether children vary in their vulnerability to the effects of high maternal depressive symptoms according to their indigenous ethnicity, maternal education, or household wealth. Our sample included 4442 mothers and 5503 children from an evaluation of Mexico’s social welfare program. Maternal depressive symptoms were assessed using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale, and child behavior was measured using an adapted version of the Behavior Problems Index (BPI). Multiple linear regression models were used to explore the associations between maternal depressive symptoms and child behavior problems, and the heterogeneity of associations by indigenous ethnicity, maternal education, and household assets. We found that having greater maternal depressive symptoms was significantly associated with having a child with more behavior problems (β = 0.114, p < 0.0001, [95% CI 0.101, 0.127]), in adjusted models. In tests of heterogeneity, the association between maternal depressive symptoms and child behavior problems was strongest in households with indigenous ethnicity, low maternal education, or in households with fewer assets. These results strengthen the case for effective mental health interventions in low- and middle-income countries, particularly among the most vulnerable families where mothers and children appear to be at the greatest risk. View Full-Text
Keywords: maternal depression; child behavior; Mexico; indigenous health maternal depression; child behavior; Mexico; indigenous health
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Flynn, E.P.; Chung, E.O.; Ozer, E.J.; Fernald, L.C.H. Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Child Behavior among Mexican Women and Their Children. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1566.

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