cioeconomic status, type of depression assessment, and clinical versus community samples. However, severely and chronically depressed parents were not targeted in this particular study population. Another meta-analysis, restricted to studies of clinically diagnosed depression in mothers, found that infants of depressed mothers showed significantly reduced likelihood of secure attachment and marginally raised the likelihood of avoidant and disorganized attachment (Martins and Gaffan, 2000). For example, clinically significant depression in mothers increased the likelihood of disorganized attachment from 17 to 28 percent on average. The reviewed studies predominantly sampled middle-income families with minimal risk factors other than the depression in the mothers. Thus, poverty and other risk factors do not explain this finding.
Several studies have found support for associations between depression in mothers and infants’ or children’s greater negative affect relative to controls. Infants of depressed mothers show more negative affect (crying and fussing) and more self-directed regulatory behaviors (e.g., self-soothing or looking away) (Field, 1992; Tronick and Gianino, 1986). Toddlers show more dysregulated aggression and heightened emotionality (Zahn-Waxler et al., 1984), and adolescents (particularly girls) display more dysphoric and less happy affect (Hops, Sherman, and Biglan, 1990). In one study that examined depressive symptom levels in both mothers and fathers, mothers’ but not fathers’ depressive symptom levels were associated with preschoolage children’s low positive emotionality (Durbin et al., 2005). These studies predominantly, but not exclusively, sampled middle-class populations.
Various indices of cognitive-intellectual or academic performance have reliably been found to be associated with depression in mothers. Children with depressed mothers, compared with children whose mothers are medically ill or have other psychiatric disorders, have poorer academic performance and other behavioral problems in school (Anderson and Hammen, 1993). Children of depressed mothers or mothers high in depressive symptom levels have been found to score lower on measures of intelligence in several studies (Anderson and Hammen, 1993; Hammen and Brennan, 2001; Hay and Kumar, 1995; Hay et al., 2001; Jaenicke et al., 1987; Kaplan, Beardslee, and Keller, 1987; Murray et al., 1993; Sharp et al., 1995). This literature has been qualitatively reviewed from a developmental perspective, including the role of timing of the depression in the mothers (Sohr-Preston and Scaramella, 2006). For example, a large, federal, early