Is Maternal Depression a major Predictor of Language Development in low income families?




Suzuki, Sumihiro
Uche, Uloma I.
Rich, Alisa


0000-0003-1887-3419 (Uche, Uloma I.)

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Purpose: The purpose of the study is to analyze what impact maternal depression has on language development of children in low income families. Methods: Using the national Early Head Start Research and Evaluation (EHSRE)14 program, data was retrieved on maternal depression and child language development (birth to 3 years). Maternal depression was measured at time of recruitment (baseline) and 14 months (post-recruitment). Child language development measured at 14 and 24 months. A logistic regression was conducted to determine the association between maternal depression and child development while controlling for socioeconomic status, education, birth weight, early birth, maternal occupation, child gender and child age. Results: 52% of eligible responding mothers at baseline had CES-D scale scores >16, the cut off score for depressive symptoms while at 14 months, 36% of biological mothers had CES-D scores >16. Depression was reported greater in African Americans withschool, neither employed nor in school/training, and household incomes Conclusions: Maternal depression in this low income population is not associated with child language development. This may be attributed to the fact that early exposures to biological and environmental risk factors have been identified to be associated with some developmental disabilities in children and studies have suggested that the consequences of these risk factors can be more severe for children in low income families. This, therefore, suggests that the impact of maternal depression on language development may not be a major predictor of language development for children in the low income families.