One of the most studied transitions has been the impact of postnatal depression on the new mother's child. It has been shown that even if the mother's depression has resolved, it can impair subsequent cognitive development and increase the rate of emotional and behaviour problems 5 or 6 years later. Detection of postnatal depression is relatively easy in principle—using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale—and a treatment intervention by health visitors is effective and simple to implement^1 so that a model for prevention exists, but its effectiveness has not yet been tested.
Somewhat similarly, although it can be demonstrated that insecure attachment in infancy is a risk factor for subsequent psychiatric disorder and that the quality of the child's attachment can be improved by counselling the mother,(32) the hard proof that this reduces subsequent psychiatric disorder is not available.
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