Aim: To investigate the effect six-month parental mental health has on children's six and 18-month development. Parental covariates of age and education were also analysed. Methods: Through a national random selection, 21 648 babies were selected. Parental self perceived overall mental health was measured using 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and children's development using the Taiwan Birth Cohort Study (TBCS) instrument which measures gross motor, fine motor, language and social dimensions of children's development. Results: Both multiple linear regression and structural equation modeling showed that when the covariates of parental education and age at childbirth were added, the effect parental mental health has on children's development decreases. Additionally, maternal mental health had a more persistent and pervasive effect than paternal mental health. Father's mental health at six months had a delayed effect, in that its influence was seen only with children's development at 18 months. Of the three factors of parental mental health, education and age at childbirth, parental education had the most pervasive and persistent effect on children's development. Conclusion: Although parental mental health has an effect on children's development, parental education and age at childbirth are vital confounding factors, which should be considered in future studies. Clinical health care providers should provide childcare resources and instructions to younger, less educated and parents with mental symptoms.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Acta Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics|
|Publication status||Published - 2009 May|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health