A child, as young as 18 months of age, is at an increased risk of developing emotional and disruptive problems if his or her mother suffers from anxiety and depression symptoms, discovers researchers.
According to the findings from the TOPP study, the risk persisted into adolescence and also gave an increased risk of depressive symptoms.
For the study, which was conducted at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, researchers used Norwegian mothers' self-reports of their own mental health and their children's problem behaviors, both disruptive and emotional, at five different ages from early childhood (18 months) to early adolescence (12.5 years).
Questionnaire data from the adolescents are from 14.5 years and 16.5 years old.
When the mother reported high levels of anxiety and depression symptoms early in the children's lives, the children had a higher risk of emotional and disruptive problem behaviors during their childhood, the results showed.
In addition, the children had a higher risk of reporting depressive symptoms during adolescence.
The association between maternal and later child problem behaviors was already present when the children were 18 months old.
The study is published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.