The child’s IQ was found to be related to the mental state of the mother. Depression in mothers slows down the development of the child and leads to the fact that the IQ of their children is below average. This is the conclusion reached by the authors of the study, which was described by the website EurekAlert .
About 900 children and their mothers took part in a large-scale experiment. Every five years (until the children reach the age of 16), the researchers checked whether the women had symptoms of depression (decreased mood, impaired thinking, motor retardation), and their children underwent Eysenck’s verbal intelligence quotient (IQ) test. In addition, scientists observed how attached mothers are to their children and how responsibly they approach the issue of their upbringing.
Scientists have found that depressed women pay less attention to the upbringing and education of their children (they buy them less educational books, toys, and so on). As a result, the IQ of these children is lower than that of those whose mothers did not suffer from depression. For example, in mothers with symptoms of depression, children aged five years on average took an IQ test with a score of 7.30, while children of mothers without depression received an IQ score of 7.78 (with a maximum score of 19) for the same test. The researchers note that even such a small difference in scores significantly affects, for example, a child’s vocabulary, as well as his verbal skills.
Also, as a result of the study, the authors determined that if the depressed state of the mother persisted for a year after the birth of the child, then the depression is likely to continue further.
In further research, the authors hope to study how depression in women affects the occurrence of similar symptoms in their children. They also want to determine how parental depression affects children’s academic performance and health.
The World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people suffer from depression, and women are more susceptible to the disease than men.