Purpose: Perinatal depression has previously been identified as a risk factor for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the offspring. Population-based studies utilizing diagnosis data are needed to better understand the relationship between these two variables. The objective of this study was to examine the association between perinatal depression and the risk of ADHD among children born during a 5 or-more-year follow-up period. Methods: The sample was drawn from a population-based cohort of privately insured mother-child pairs within the state of Iowa. Hazard ratios for risk of ADHD by exposure to perinatal depression were estimated using adjusted Cox proportional-hazard models. Results: Among the 5,635 mother-child pairs, 484 mothers were diagnosed with depression during the perinatal period, and 269 children were diagnosed with ADHD. After adjustment for confounders, children born to mothers with perinatal depression were over three times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD (HR 3.16 (95% CI 2.35, 4.23)). Conclusions: Children born to mothers with perinatal depression were found to be at increased risk of ADHD. This finding suggests that ADHD and its adverse sequelae could be mitigated by increasing maternal depression intervention efforts as well as ADHD screening and treatment efforts targeted to this vulnerable population.
- Antenatal depression
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
- Postpartum depression
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