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  Association of postpartum maternal mood with infant speech perception at 2 and 6.5 months of age

Schaadt, G., Zsido, R., Villringer, A., Obrig, H., Männel, C., & Sacher, J. (2022). Association of postpartum maternal mood with infant speech perception at 2 and 6.5 months of age. JAMA Network Open, 5(9): e2232672. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.32672.

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Schaadt, Gesa1, 2, Author                 
Zsido, Rachel3, 4, Author                 
Villringer, Arno3, 5, Author                 
Obrig, Hellmuth3, 5, Author           
Männel, Claudia1, 5, 6, Author                 
Sacher, Julia4, 5, 7, Author                 
1Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, Leipzig, DE, ou_634551              
2Department of Education and Psychology, FU Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, Leipzig, DE, ou_634549              
4Minerva Research Group EGG (Emotion & neuroimaGinG) Lab, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_3230775              
5Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
6Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
7Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Helios Park Hospital Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              


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 Abstract: Importance: Language development builds on speech perception, with early disruptions increasing the risk for later language difficulties. Although a major postpartum depressive episode is associated with language development, this association has not been investigated among infants of mothers experiencing a depressed mood at subclinical levels after birth, even though such a mood is frequently present in the first weeks after birth. Understanding whether subclinical depressed maternal mood after birth is associated with early language development is important given opportunities of coping strategies for subclinical depressed mood.

Objective: To examine whether depressed maternal mood at subclinical levels 2 months after birth is associated with infant speech perception trajectories from ages 2 to 6.5 months.

Design, setting, and participants: In this longitudinal cohort study conducted between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2019, 46 healthy, monolingual German mother-infant dyads were tested. The sample was recruited from the infants database of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Initial statistical analysis was performed between January 1 and March 31, 2021; the moderation analysis (results reported herein) was conducted between July 1 and July 31, 2022.

Exposures: Mothers reported postpartum mood via the German version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (higher scores indicated higher levels of depressed mood, with a cutoff of 13 points indicating a high probability of clinical depression) when their infants were 2 months old.

Main outcomes and measures: Electrophysiological correlates of infant speech perception (mismatch response to speech stimuli) were tested when the infants were aged 2 months (initial assessment) and 6.5 months (follow-up).

Results: A total of 46 mothers (mean [SD] age, 32.1 [3.8] years) and their 2-month-old children (mean [SD] age, 9.6 [1.2] weeks; 23 girls and 23 boys) participated at the initial assessment, and 36 mothers (mean [SD] age, 32.2 [4.1] years) and their then 6.5-month-old children (mean [SD] age, 28.4 [1.5 weeks; 18 girls and 18 boys) participated at follow-up. Moderation analyses revealed that more depressed maternal subclinical postpartum mood (mean [SD] Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score, 4.8 [3.6]) was associated with weaker longitudinal changes of infants' electrophysiological brain responses to syllable pitch speech information from ages 2 to 6.5 months (coefficient: 0.68; 95% CI, 0.03-1.33; P = .04).

Conclusions and relevance: The results of this cohort study suggest that infant speech perception trajectories are correlated with subclinical depressed mood in postpartum mothers. This finding lays the groundwork for future research on early support for caregivers experiencing depressed mood to have a positive association with children's language development.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2022-08-042022-09-21
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.32672
PMID: 36129707
 Degree: -



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Title: JAMA Network Open
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Chicago, IL : American Medical Association
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 5 (9) Sequence Number: e2232672 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2574-3805
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2574-3805