Effects of perinatal mental disorders on the fetus and child

Alan Stein, Rebecca M Pearson, Sherryl H Goodman, Elizabeth Rapa, Atif Rahman, Meaghan McCallum, Louise M Howard, Carmine M Pariante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

723 Citations (Scopus)


Perinatal mental disorders are associated with increased risk of psychological and developmental disturbances in children. However, these disturbances are not inevitable. In this Series paper, we summarise evidence for associations between parental disorders and offspring outcomes from fetal development to adolescence in high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries. We assess evidence for mechanisms underlying transmission of disturbance, the role of mediating variables (underlying links between parent psychopathology and offspring outcomes) and possible moderators (which change the strength of any association), and focus on factors that are potentially modifiable, including parenting quality, social (including partner) and material support, and duration of the parental disorder. We review research of interventions, which are mostly about maternal depression, and emphasise the need to both treat the parent's disorder and help with associated caregiving difficulties. We conclude with policy implications and underline the need for early identification of those parents at high risk and for more early interventions and prevention research, especially in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and low-income countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1800-19
Number of pages20
Issue number9956
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child of Impaired Parents
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Fetal Development
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Parenting
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors

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