Attachment, postnatal depression and child development

Researchers: Dr Pasco Fearon

Project overview


There is increasing evidence that postnatal depression may significantly and negatively impact on children’s development through its effects on the quality of the parent-child relationship.

A longitudinal study of children with postnatally depressed mothers found they were more likely to experience insecure mother-child attachment. Furthermore, this insecurity consistently predicted the quality of the child’s social and emotional development from early childhood through to adolescence.

This study will return to the original sample of these children (now adults) in order to assess their attachment status. Researchers will test whether:

  • There will be continuity in the quality of attachment from infancy to adulthood
  • This continuity will explain some of the long-term adverse impact of maternal postnatal depression on the social and emotional outcomes of young adults.

Team


  • Dr Pasco Fearon
    University of Reading

  • Director, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.

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