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Aggression, Children, Childhood, Depression, Maternal depression



  1. Hendricks, Katherine BSN, RN
  2. Liu, Jianghong PhD, FAAN


Introduction: Childbearing depression (CBD) and childhood aggression are serious and international problems that encumber public health. Although maternal depression has received much attention in the literature in the last three decades, clinically it remains underdiagnosed and undertreated, especially during pregnancy. As a result, many mothers and families are left to suffer its long-lasting physical and psychosocial effects. This article's aim is to review the current literature on whether CBD increases the likelihood of childhood aggression in children ages 6 years and younger.


Methods: Using keywords, an electronic search was performed using Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, and PubMed databases. Search limits included the following: 2000-2010, English, peer-review, human, All Child: 0-18. From more than 2,000 search results, 13 articles were reviewed based on relevance to article's inquiry and sample size greater than 50.


Results: In all, the articles agreed that depression in women increases the likelihood of early childhood aggression by causing negative parenting behaviors. However, this finding is tempered by a number of weaknesses in the quality of articles reviewed and by the complexity of the topic.


Conclusion: More research is needed to determine the etiology and interplay of mediating factors between CBD and childhood aggression. This could inform the study and implementation of effective and early prevention, screening, and treatment measures and programs for maternal depression and childhood aggression.