A new study has revealed that maternal stress, prenatal as well as early post-partum, may result in behavioural problems in kids, which may continue into adolescence.
Partner cruelty to the mother, harsh parenting and high levels of under-controlled temperaments in the children's first years of life were also identified by the researchers as increasing the risk of conduct problems continuing into adolescence.
"... maternal anxiety, both prenatal and early post-partum, is critical in differentiating youths with persistent conduct problems from youths with childhood-limited conduct problems," said Dr. Edward D.
"Ted" Barker, an assistant professor and researcher in UA's Canter for the Prevention of Youth Behaviour Problems.
However, less than 50 percent of young children exhibiting high levels of conduct problems, including fighting, stealing and lying, will continue displaying these problems in adolescence.
"The results support intervention efforts that 'start at the beginning' and offer high-risk mothers health and psychological support beginning with their first obstetric screening," said the researchers.
The study appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry.