Maternal depressive symptoms, parenting self-efficacy, and child growth

Publication Type:
Journal Article
American Journal of Public Health, 2008, 98 (1), pp. 125 - 132
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Objectives. We assessed whether maternal depressive symptoms and parenting self-efficacy were associated with child growth delay. Methods. We collected data from a random sample of 595 low-income mothers and their children aged 6 to 24 months in Teresina, Piauí, Brazil, including information on sociodemographic characteristics, mothers' depressive symptoms and parenting self-efficacy, and children's anthropometric characteristics. We used adjusted logistic regression models in our analyses. Results. Depressive symptoms among mothers were associated with 1.8 times higher odds (95% confidence interval [CI]=1.1, 2.9) of short stature among children. Parenting self-efficacy was not associated with short stature, nor did it mediate or modify the relationship between depressive symptoms and short stature. Maternal depressive symptoms and self-efficacy were not related to child underweight. Conclusions. Our results showed that among low-income Brazilian families maternal depressive symptoms, but not self-efficacy, were associated with short stature in children aged 6 to 24 months after adjustment for known predictors of growth.
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