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Maternal Depression and Infant Development: Theory and Current Evidence

Miklush, Lisa PhD, RNC, CNS; Connelly, Cynthia D. PhD, RN, FAAN

MCN, American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e3182a1fc4b
Feature: CE Connection

Abstract: Maternal depression (MD) is a condition that has wide-ranging effects on the woman, her family, and the broader global society. It is generally agreed that MD is associated with untoward effects on the developmental trajectory of offspring. The aim of this article is to review the historical and theoretical underpinnings informing current thought linking MD with infant development, and to highlight some of the neuroendocrine and epigenetic processes related to MD and its sequelae. A broad understanding of the association between MD and infant developmental outcomes can inform nursing care of the childbearing family.

In Brief

An in-depth examination of how maternal depression has been seen through the ages, and the evidence for how it affects the development of the infant.

Author Information

Lisa Miklush is an Assistant Professor, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. She can be reached via e-mail at

Cynthia D. Connelly is Professor and Director of Nursing Research, University of San Diego, San Diego, CA.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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