postnatal depression

Some children are more likely to suffer depression long after being bullied

July 1, 2019

Science Daily/University of Bristol

Some young adults who were bullied as a child could have a greater risk of ongoing depression due to a mix of genetic and environmental factors according to a new study from the University of Bristol.

 

Researchers wanted to find out what factors influenced depression in young adults between the ages of 10 and 24 and why some people responded differently to risk factors such as bullying, maternal postnatal depression, early childhood anxiety and domestic violence.

 

Using detailed mood and feelings questionnaires and genetic information from 3,325 teenagers who are part of Bristol's Children of the 90s study, alongside evidence of these risk factors at nine points in time they found that childhood bullying was strongly associated with trajectories of depression that rise at an early age. Children who continued to show high depression into adulthood were also more likely to have genetic liability for depression and a mother with postnatal depression. However, Children who were bullied but did not have any genetic liability for depression showed much lower depressive symptoms as they become young adults.

 

University of Bristol PhD student Alex Kwong commented: "Although we know that depression can strike first during the teenage years we didn't know how risk factors influenced change over time. Thanks to the Children of the 90s study, we were able to examine at multiple time points the relationships between the strongest risk factors such as bullying and maternal depression, as well as factors such as genetic liability.

 

"It's important that we know if some children are more at risk of depression long after any childhood bullying has occurred. Our study found that young adults who were bullied as children were eight times more likely to experience depression that was limited to childhood. However, some children who were bullied showed greater patterns of depression that continued into adulthood and this group of children also showed genetic liability and family risk.

 

"However, just because an individual has genetic liability to depression does not mean they are destined to go on and have depression. There are a number of complex pathways that we still don't fully understand and need to investigate further.

 

"The next steps should continue to look at both genetic and environmental risk factors to help untangle this complex relationship that would eventually help influence prevention and coping strategies for our health and education services."

 

Lecturer in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the University of Bristol Dr Rebecca Pearson added: "The results can help us to identify which groups of children are most likely to suffer ongoing symptoms of depression into adulthood and which children will recover across adolescence. For example, the results suggest that children with multiple risk factors (including family history and bullying) should be targeted for early intervention but that when risk factors such as bullying occur insolation, symptoms of depression may be less likely to persist"

 

Karen Black, Chief Executive Officer for Bristol's Off the Record added: "At Off The Record we see a diverse mix of young people presenting with a range of needs, often depression and anxiety. Understanding some of the factors that influence this will further help us to shape services and our offer for young people. I would also hope that studies such as these will help change policy direction and spending so that we start to get upstream of the issues that we know affect mental health including education and family, prevention rather than cure ideally."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190701144454.htm

People fail to recognize male postnatal depression

New research shows significant gender differences

May 13, 2019

Science Daily/Anglia Ruskin University

A new study shows that people are almost twice as likely to correctly identify signs of postnatal depression in women than in men.

 

The research, published in the Journal of Mental Health and led by Professor Viren Swami of Anglia Ruskin University, involved 406 British adults aged between 18 and 70.

 

The participants were presented with case studies of a man and a woman both displaying symptoms of postnatal depression, a mental health issue which affects as many as 13% of new parents.

 

This new study found that participants of both sexes were less likely to say that there was something wrong with the male (76%) compared to the female (97%).

 

Of the participants who did identify a problem, they were significantly more likely to diagnose postnatal depression in the female case study than the male case study. The study found that 90% of participants correctly described the female case study as suffering from postnatal depression but only 46% said the male had postnatal depression.

 

The participants commonly believed that the man was suffering from stress or tiredness. In fact, stress was chosen 21% of the time for the man compared to only 0.5% for the woman, despite identical symptoms.

 

Overall the study found that attitudes were significantly more negative towards the male case study compared to the female. It found that participants reported lower perceived distress towards the male case study's condition, believed that the male's condition would be easier to treat, expressed less sympathy for the male and were less likely to suggest that the male seek help.

 

Lead author Viren Swami, Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, said: "Our findings suggest that the British public are significantly more likely to believe that something is 'wrong' when seeing a woman displaying the symptoms of postnatal depression, and they are also far more likely to correctly label the condition as postnatal depression.

 

"There may be a number of reasons for this gender difference. It is possible that general awareness of paternal postnatal depression still remains relatively low and there might be a perception among the British public that postnatal depression is a 'women's issue' due to gender-specific factors such as pregnancy-induced hormonal changes and delivery complications.

 

"What is clear is that much more can be done to promote better understanding of paternal postnatal depression, so people don't brush it off as simply tiredness or stress. This is particularly important as many men who experience symptoms of depression following the birth of their child may not be confident about asking for help and may be missed by healthcare professionals in the routine assessments of new parents."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190513104502.htm

Postnatal depression could be linked to fewer daylight hours during late pregnancy

Shortening days during third trimester of pregnancy may add to risk of postpartum depression

September 27, 2018

Science Daily/Springer

Women in late pregnancy during darker months of the year may have a greater risk of developing postpartum depression once their babies are born. This is consistent with what is known about the relationship between exposure to natural light and depression among adults in the general population.

 

Although reduced exposure to natural light has been associated with depression among adults in the general population, there is not yet a consensus about whether light exposure or seasonality influences the development of depression during and after pregnancy.

 

In this study, Goyal and her colleagues at the University of California San Francisco analysed available information from 293 women who participated in one of two randomized controlled clinical trials about sleep before and after pregnancy. The participants were all first-time mothers from the US state of California. Data included the amount of daylight during the final trimester of their pregnancy, along with information about known risk factors such as a history of depression, the woman's age, her socioeconomic status and how much she slept.

 

Overall, the participants had a 30 per cent risk of depression. The analysis suggested that the number of daylight hours a woman was exposed to during her final month of pregnancy and just after birth had a major influence on the likelihood that she developed depressive symptoms.

 

The lowest risk for depression (26 per cent) occurred among women whose final trimester coincided with seasons with longer daylight hours. Depression scores were highest (35 per cent) among women whose final trimester coincided with "short" days and the symptoms continued to be more severe following the birth of their babies in this group of women. In the northern hemisphere, this timeframe refers to the months of August to the first four days of November (late summer to early autumn).

 

"Among first-time mothers, the length of day in the third trimester, specifically day lengths that are shortening compared to day lengths that are short, long or lengthening, were associated with concurrent depressive symptom severity," Goyal explains.

 

The findings suggest that using light treatment in the late third trimester when seasonal day length is shortening could minimize postpartum depressive symptoms in high-risk mothers during the first three months of their children's lives. Goyal says that women with a history of mental health problems and those who are already experiencing depressive symptoms in the third trimester might further benefit from being outdoors when possible, or using devices such as light boxes that provide light therapy.

 

"Women should be encouraged to get frequent exposure to daylight throughout their pregnancies to enhance their vitamin D levels and to suppress the hormone melatonin," adds Goyal, who says that clinicians should also advise their patients to get more exercise outdoors when weather and safety permit. "Daily walks during daylight hours may be more effective in improving mood than walking inside a shopping mall or using a treadmill in a gym. Likewise, early morning or late evening walks may be relaxing but would be less effective in increasing vitamin D exposure or suppressing melatonin."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180927105733.htm

 

Fish-rich diets in pregnancy may boost babies' brain development

September 20, 2018

Science Daily/Springer

Women could enhance the development of their unborn child's eyesight and brain function by regularly eating fatty fish during pregnancy. This is the suggestion from a small-scale study. The research supports previous findings that show how important a prospective mother's diet and lifestyle choices are for the development of her baby.

 

According to Laitinen, a mother's diet during pregnancy and breastfeeding is the main way that valuable long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids become available to a fetus and infant brain during the period of maximum brain growth during the first years of a child's life. Such fatty acids help to shape the nerve cells that are relevant to eyesight and particularly the retina. They are also important in forming the synapses that are vital in the transport of messages between neurons in the nervous system.

 

In this study, Laitinen and her colleagues analysed the results of 56 mothers and their children drawn from a larger study. The mothers had to keep a regular food diary during the course of their pregnancy. Fluctuations in their weight before and during pregnancy were taken into account, along with their blood sugar level and blood pressure. Aspects such as whether they smoked or developed diabetes related to pregnancy were also noted.

 

The team recorded the levels of nutritional long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid sources in the mother's diet and blood serum, and the levels in the blood of their children by the age of one month. Their children were further tested around their second birthday using pattern reversal visual evoked potentials (pVEP). This sensitive and accurate, non-invasive method is used to detect visual functioning and maturational changes occurring within a young child's visual system.

 

The subsequent analyses of the visual test results revealed that infants whose mothers ate fish three or more times a week during the last trimester of their pregnancy fared better than those whose mothers ate no fish or only up to two portions per week. These observations were further substantiated when the serum phospholipid fatty acid status was evaluated.

 

"The results of our study suggest that frequent fish consumption by pregnant women is of benefit for their unborn child's development. This may be attributable to long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids within fish, but also due to other nutrients like vitamin D and E, which are also important for development," explains Laitinen.

 

"Our study therefore highlights the potential importance of subtle changes in the diet of healthy women with uncompromised pregnancies, beyond prematurity or nutritional deficiencies, in regulating infantile neurodevelopment," adds Laitinen, who believes that their results should be incorporated into counselling given to pregnant women about their diets.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180920102207.htm

 

Postnatal depression has life-long impact on mother-child relations

February 20, 2018

Science Daily/University of Kent

Postnatal depression (PND) can impact the quality of relationships between mother and child into adult life, and have a negative influence on the quality of relationships between grandmothers and grandchildren, new research has discovered.

 

Now, research led by Dr Sarah Myers and overseen by Dr Sarah Johns in the School of Anthropology and Conservation has found that PND continues to impact mother-child relationships into later life and affects multi-generational relationships too.

 

They surveyed 305 women mainly from the UK and US with an average age of 60 and who had given birth to an average of 2.2 children. Their children ranged in age from 8 to 48, with an average age of 29 and many of whom now had their own children. This wide-ranging data set allowed them to assess the impact of PND over a longer time frame than has been hitherto examined.

 

Their data showed that women who had PND reported lower relationship quality with their offspring, including those children who are now adults and that the worse the PND had been the worse the later relationship quality was.

 

While mothers who experienced depressive symptoms at other times had worse relationships with all of their children, PND was found to be specifically detrimental to the relationship mothers had with their child whose birth triggered the PND.

 

This suggests that factors which affect mother-child relationships in early infancy can have lifelong consequences on the relationship that is formed over time.

 

Another discovery from the research was that women who suffer from PND with a child, and then in later life become a grandmother via that child, form a less emotionally close relationship with that grandchild. This continues the negative cycle associated with PND as the importance of grandmothers in helping with the rearing of grandchildren is well-documented.

 

The researchers hope the findings will encourage the ongoing development and implantation of preventative measures to combat PND. Investment in prevention will not only improve mother-child relationships, but also future grandmother-grandchild relationships.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180220122917.htm

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