Systematic Review on the Impact of Different Presentations of Maternal Depression on Children's Socio-Emotional Development

A Study Protocol

  • María Francisca Morales The University of Edinburgh
  • Lisa-Christine Girard The University of Edinburgh
  • Aigli Raouna The University of Edinburgh
  • Angus MacBeth The University of Edinburgh
Keywords: maternal depression, perinatal period, depression trajectories, socio-emotional development, children


Background: Maternal depression from the perinatal period onwards is associated with an increased likelihood of suboptimal socio-developmental outcomes in offspring, with increasing interest in the extent to which sustained maternal depression impacts on these associations. The current protocol outlines the methodology of a systematic review to synthesise the evidence on the impact of maternal depression from the perinatal period onwards and offspring socio-emotional development, defined as internalising, externalising, and social competence outcomes. We aim to explore the effects of timing, chronicity and severity of maternal depression on outcomes, and identify sources of methodological bias.

Methods/Design: The conduct and reporting of the protocol will adhere to PRISMA-P guidelines. The systematic review will be conducted using the following electronic databases: APA PsycInfo, EMBASE, MEDLINE. Grey literature will be searched from the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database.

Discussion: Findings from the systematic review will enhance knowledge around potential heterogeneity of timing, chronicity and severity of maternal depression and its impact on offspring socio-emotional development.

Study Protocols