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Project

Long and shorter effect of prenatal exposure to maternal anxiety on child behaviour. A re-examination using a sibling design. - project description

Published


The primary objective is to examine the underlying mechanism of prenatal maternal anxiety on child behaviour.


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Summary

The project will also examine how maternal health is related to diet and the importance it may have for the fetus and the child's development.

Previous research has shown a correlation between the child's exposure to maternal anxiety during pregnancy and the child's later behaviour.

Earlier research also shows that depression is often associated with poor diet. Recently, a large study in England (ALSPAC) found that prenatal and postnatal diets high in processed food, and low in fish, were associated with having children with conduct disorder in early adolescence. Therefore, the project will also investigate maternal diets containing high fat content and high sugar as a predictor of maternal anxiety, and whether this affects the symptoms of inattention and overactivity in the child.

The project will:

1) Examine the effect of prenatal maternal anxiety on infant temperament at 6 months, and to compare exposed versus nonexposed siblings. 

2) Examine the potential long-term effect of prenatal anxiety on internalising difficulties in 36 month olds, and to compare exposed versus non-exposed siblings. 

3) Examine the potential long-term effect of prenatal anxiety on externalising difficulties in 18 and 36 month olds, and to compare exposed versus non-exposed siblings. 

The project will also look at unhealthy diet in the pregnancy and symptoms of ADHD at 36 and five years, and on birth weight as outcomes and externalising difficulties at 5 years.

The project will use a quasi-experimental design (sibling design), in order to control for potential confounding effects of genetics factors.

Collaborating institutions

  • The Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • University of Oslo