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Revista de Psiquiatria do Rio Grande do Sul

Print version ISSN 0101-8108


MOTTA, Maria da Graça; LUCION, Aldo Bolten  and  MANFRO, Gisele Gus. Effects of maternal depression on the neurobiological and psychological development of children. Rev. psiquiatr. Rio Gd. Sul [online]. 2005, vol.27, n.2, pp.165-176. ISSN 0101-8108.

Many recent studies have shown that maternal deprivation has important effects on the psychological and neurobiological development of the child. Puerperal depression, when persistent, predisposes to child abuse and negligence. This paper aims at reviewing studies published as of 1988 that demonstrated changes in the neurological, endocrine, mental and behavioral development of children born from depressed puerperal women. Environmental influence was also revised, focusing on pre-clinical studies carried out with non-human mammals, which showed that deprivation or stress in early development stages predicts changes in brain structure, neuro-humoral secretions and density of specific receptors. Finally, the study also revises some theoretical aspects of the child-mother relationship importance, which are in accordance with the experimental findings.

Keywords : Puerperal depression; maternal depression; infant; child; HPA axis; maternal deprivation; cortisol.

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