Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Perinatal mental disorders are associated with increased risk of psychological and developmental disturbances in children. However, these disturbances are not inevitable. In this Series paper, we summarise evidence for associations between parental disorders and offspring outcomes from fetal development to adolescence in high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries. We assess evidence for mechanisms underlying transmission of disturbance, the role of mediating variables (underlying links between parent psychopathology and offspring outcomes) and possible moderators (which change the strength of any association), and focus on factors that are potentially modifiable, including parenting quality, social (including partner) and material support, and duration of the parental disorder. We review research of interventions, which are mostly about maternal depression, and emphasise the need to both treat the parent's disorder and help with associated caregiving difficulties. We conclude with policy implications and underline the need for early identification of those parents at high risk and for more early interventions and prevention research, especially in socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and low-income countries.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1800 - 1819


Adolescent, Child, Child of Impaired Parents, Child, Preschool, Developmental Disabilities, Educational Status, Female, Fetal Development, Humans, Incidence, Male, Mental Disorders, Mother-Child Relations, Parenting, Postpartum Period, Pregnancy, Prognosis, Risk Assessment, Socioeconomic Factors