Association of maternal depression, family composition and poverty with maternal care and physical health of children in the first year of life


  • Isabela Resende Silva Scherrer Departamento de Pediatria da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte - MG, Brasil
  • Cláudia Regina Lindgren Alves Departamento de Pediatria da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte - MG, Brasil



maternal depression, maternal care, child health, socioeconomic factors, Social support


Introduction: The child’s overall health depends on several factors, including the quality of the environment in which it lives and the care it receives. Child well-being early in life has an impact on its future and future generations’ health.

Objective: Analyze the association of maternal depression, family composition and socioeconomic conditions with the indicator of maternal care and physical health of children.

Methods: Retrospective cohort that analyzed data from 120 children in the first year of life. A Health and Maternal Care Indicator (ISCM) was created, aggregating information on growth, breastfeeding, vaccination, prophylaxis of iron deficiency anemia, illnesses and accidents. The socioeconomic and health conditions were obtained through a structured interview. Maternal depression was assessed by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. The association between the ICSM and the predictors was examined by Quasipoisson Regression. The initial model was composed of variables with p<0.25 in the univariate analysis and p<0.05 in the final model.

Results: The mothers were adults (83.3%), studied for an average of 10 years and 36% of them had depressive symptoms. About 37% of the families were single-parent female, 59% were from Class C1-C2 of ABEP and 12% received the “Bolsa Família” benefit. ISCM was 8% lower in children whose mothers were depressed (p = 0.04) or had no partner (p = 0.03), and was 14% higher in families receiving Bolsa Família (p = 0.02) in relation to their peers.

Conclusion: Maternal depression and female single-parent family arrangements negatively impacted child health and care, while the conditional cash transfer program represented a protective factor.


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