High Antenatal Maternal Anxiety Is Related to ADHD Symptoms, Externalizing Problems, and Anxiety in 8‐ and 9‐Year‐Olds

  • Bea Van den Bergh
    Bea Van den Bergh
  • Alfons Marcoen
    Alfons Marcoen
Department of Psychology, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.

Child Development (Impact Factor: 4.72). 06/2004; 75(4):1085-97. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00727.x

Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Associations between antenatal maternal anxiety, measured with the State Trait Anxiety Inventory, and disorders in 8- and 9-year-olds were studied prospectively in 71 normal mothers and their 72 firstborns. Clinical scales were completed by the mother, the child, the teacher, and an external observer. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that maternal state anxiety during pregnancy explained 22%, 15%, and 9% of the variance in cross-situational attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms, externalizing problems, and self-report anxiety, respectively, even after controlling for child’s gender, parents’ educational level, smoking during pregnancy, birth weight, and postnatal maternal anxiety. Anxiety at 12 to 22 weeks postmenstrual age turned out to be a significant independent predictor whereas anxiety at 32 to 40 weeks was not. Results are consistent with a fetal programming hypothesis.