Maternal affective disorder and children’s representation of their families
Arteche, A. and Murray, L. (2011) Maternal affective disorder and children’s representation of their families. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20 (6). pp. 822-832. ISSN 1573-2843
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10826-011-9450-7
Children’s perceptions of family relationship are related to their later emotional and social adjustment. This is of particular relevance in the context of family stressors such as maternal affective disorder. This study investigated the effects of maternal postnatal depression and anxiety on children’s family representations. In our sample of postnatally depressed mothers we also explored marital conflict as mediator between maternal psychopathology and children’s representations. Family drawings of 235 4–5 year-old children (93 control, 53 depressed and 89 anxious) were examined. When compared to controls, children of depressed, but not of anxious mothers, were more likely to draw themselves as less prominent than other family members and to represent a dysfunctional family, less likely to represent themselves with a happy face and showed a greater tendency of drawing bizarre pictures. Marital conflict mediated the association between maternal depression and dysfunctionality in drawings.