A Longitudinal Cohort Study on Parental Mental Health from Pregnancy to Six Years Postpartum: Using a Nested Case-Control Study to Investigate the Risk Factors of Child’S Developmental Delay

Project: A - Government Institutionb - National Science and Technology Council

Project Details


Mental health has shifted attention from dysfunction/illness to positive emotions and optimal functioning. Maternal and paternal positive (e.g., psychological well-being) and negative (e.g., depression, anxiety) mental health during prenatal and postpartum periods affect their own health and predict disturbances in children’s later social, behavioral, cognitive, and physical development. This issue deserves continued public health attention. Starting from 2010, a longitudinal study has been implemented to simultaneously recruit both parents and children for the assessment of parental mental health status, family interaction, and their impact on children’s growth and development. Data has been collected up to three years postpartum. However, preschool years are critical to children’s development. This project thus is aimed at investigating the impact and trajectories of parental perinatal mental health on children’s growth and development during preschool years. Psychological well-being, linkage of healthcare data, and multiple risk factors for developmental delay will be more comprehensively explored. Three main parts are in this study. Part I is a prospective cohort study. In the first year, new couples will be recruited from two medical centers and two regional hospitals in Taipei metropolitan area. All pregnant women who undergo a first-trimester prenatal visit, who plan to carry the baby till term, and whose partner is also willing to participate will be invited to join our study. In addition, those who joined our previous study will be invited to this new study and continued following-up both parental mental health and children’s developmental outcomes till 6 years after childbirth. Three assessments (when the child is 4, 5, and 6 years old) are scheduled. Part II is a nested case-control study. A screening instrument will be used to evaluate suspected cases for developmental delay. Incidence density sampling will be employed to select matched controls. Further investigation, including professional assessment on developmental delay, home observation for evaluation of the family environment, and measurement of indoor air quality will be performed to investigate multiple risk factors for children’s developmental delay. Part III is the linkage of our data with those from the National health insurance research database to incorporate the information on healthcare utilization and diseases diagnosis for further assessment. After data are collected, descriptive, analytic and longitudinal data analyses will be performed for analysis. This study will explore the effects of parental mental health on children’s growth and development during the critical preschool years. It is hoped that our findings may not only provide evidence-based data in Taiwan but contribute significantly to further promote parental health and consequently boost child’s healthy growth and development.
Effective start/end date8/1/177/31/18


  • perinatal depression
  • psychological well-being
  • developmental delay
  • paternal involvement
  • family environment


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