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date: 26 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides a review of research and a description of the central issues regarding the stressor of depression in mothers during pregnancy and the postpartum periods in relation to risk for the development of psychopathology in offspring. Where evidence allows, causal relations are emphasized; otherwise, limitations are noted, especially those regarding being able to draw causal conclusions from the correlational approaches typically taken in this area of study. Evidence for mechanisms in the transmission of risk is also described, given the potential for understanding causal relations. With the developmental psychopathology perspective of depression as a stressor for offspring, the focus is on vulnerabilities to and early signs of disorder as well as mental health outcomes per se. The chapter concludes with suggested critical issues in the field and recommendations for future directions for research.

Keywords: depression, stress, pregnancy, postpartum period, developmental psychopathology, risk, vulnerabilities, mechanisms

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