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Table of Contents
Vol. 42, No. 1, 2009
Issue release date: January 2009
Section title: Review
Free Access
Psychopathology 2009;42:11–21

The Influence of Postnatal Psychiatric Disorder on Child Development

Is Maternal Preoccupation One of the Key Underlying Processes?

Stein A.a · Lehtonen A.a · Harvey A.G.b · Nicol-Harper R.a · Craske M.c
aDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; bDepartment of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, Calif., and cDepartment of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Calif., USA
email Corresponding Author

Professor Alan Stein

University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry

Warneford Hospital

Oxford OX3 7JX (UK)

Tel. +44 1865 223 911, Fax +44 1865 226 384, E-Mail alan.stein@psych.ox.ac.uk

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There is considerable evidence that maternal postnatal psychiatric disorder has an adverse influence on infant development. In attempting to examine the pathways of intergenerational transmission, most research has concentrated on genetic factors or on maternal behaviours during mother-child interaction and attachment. However, researchers have largely ignored the possible role of maternal cognition underlying behaviour, especially the thought and attentional processes involved in psychiatric disorders. This paper argues that a particular form of maternal cognition, namely ‘preoccupation’, is one key, but under-recognised, mechanism in the transmission of psychiatric disturbance. We propose that preoccupation interferes with specific aspects of mental functioning, especially attention and responsivity to the environment. This impairs the mother’s parenting capacities and adversely affects mother-child interaction and child development.

© 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Review

Received: July 19, 2007
Accepted: April 17, 2008
Published online: November 20, 2008
Issue release date: January 2009

Number of Print Pages: 11
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0254-4962 (Print)
eISSN: 1423-033X (Online)

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