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Children's Health

Day Care May Help Kids of Depressed Moms

In study, they tended to only copy necessary

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Young children of depressed mothers may develop fewer emotional problems if they spend time in some kind of day care, a new study suggests.

The Canadian research doesn't definitively prove that kids gain benefits from getting care from people other than their troubled mothers, and it doesn't examine the potentially high costs of alternative types of care. Nor does the study look at the role of fathers in caring for the kids.

However, experts said the study provides strong evidence of the value of day care when a mom is struggling with depression.

"The main message is that day care looks like it makes a huge difference in the long term," said Alan Kazdin, a child psychiatry professor at Yale University. "It's not trivial, and it's not just babysitting."

At issue are the children of mothers with depression, a condition that's estimated to strike 30 percent to 40 percent of mothers of childbearing age at some point. While it's difficult to fully understand how these kids are affected, "depressed mothers are likely to be more disengaged, inconsistent, negative and unresponsive, and less likely to be warm and supportive," explained Susan Campbell, a psychology professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

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