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Study: Day Care Helps Children of Depressed Mothers

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This article was taken out of the Orlando Sentinel, June 26, 2013


Children of depressed mothers are less likely to have emotional problems if they attend day care, a new Canadian study suggests.

“it’s interesting to think of this as a possible type of intervention,” said Catherine Herba of the University of Quebec at Montreal.

The researchers followed 1800 children born in Quebec in 1997-98 and their mothers through the child’s 5th birthday.


About 19% of mothers were found to have depression symptoms during the study. And as previous research has suggested, their kids were almost twice as likely to develop emotional problems and separation anxiety before age 5.  Herba’s team wrote in JAMA Psychiatry.

However, being in child care seemed to mitigate that effect. Among children with depressed mothers, attending day care was tied to a 79 % reduced risk of developing emotional problems.

Between 9 and 31% of the study’s preschoolers had emotional problems depending on whether their mothers were depressed and where they received care.

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