Objective To investigate the effects of domestic violence (DV) against pregnant women on their infant's development in China.
Design 247 mothers were interviewed using the Chinese version of the Abuse Assessment Screen, and all participants underwent postnatal assessment with the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EDPS). Plasma glutamate (Glu), γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and cortisol levels of the neonates were measured. After a 10-month follow-up, the infants were assessed using the Revised Infant Temperament Questionnaire (RITQ) and Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID).
Results 86 infants of abused mothers (DV group) and 137 infants of non-abused mothers (non-DV group) completed the 10-month follow-up. Neonate levels of plasma Glu, GABA and cortisol were significantly higher in the DV group than in the non-DV group. Scores for the temperament factors, rhythmicity, approach/withdrawal, mood, distractibility and persistence, of the RITQ were rated significantly higher, and results for the Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) of the BSID were significantly lower in the DV group than in the non-DV group at 10 months. After adjustment for the EPDS as a covariate, only distractibility of the RITQ showed a statistically significant difference between the two groups. In correlation analysis, infant mood correlated significantly with levels of plasma Glu (β=0.2345) and GABA (β=0.2554), whether or not the EPDS scores were adjusted. Infant persistence and threshold of stimuli scores did not correlate significantly with DV during pregnancy after adjustment for the EPDS.
Conclusions DV against pregnant women may be associated with impaired temperament and development in their infants.
- Child Psychiatry