Children of Mothers With Bipolar May Benefit From Early Intervention

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Toddlers who are born to mothers with bipolar disorder often wrestle with frustration, restraint and negative emotions, which puts them at a higher risk for behavioral problems later on, according to a new study. However, the finding also indicates that children who show these troubling signs may be helped through early intervention programs.

Diana I. Simeonova, Dipl-Psych, PhD, the study’s principal investigator with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated the temperament of 30 toddlers between the ages of 18 and 36 months born to mothers with bipolar disorder. Using the Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire and Child Behavior Checklist, the mothers rated the frequency of temperament-related behavior they observed over the pror two weeks.

The assessments found that participants with issues involving frustration tolerance, restraint, soothability and negative emotions might be at an increased risk for behavioral and emotional problems over time, the researchers reported in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Simeonova said that better understanding of these early characteristic in toddlers of mothers with bipolar disorder could help in the development of early intervention and prevention strategies.

“Although more studies are needed in this area, we believe that with temperament-based early intervention and prevention approaches, future emotional problems in high-risk children can be avoided,” the researchers wrote.

Children of Mothers With Bipolar May Benefit From Early Intervention
Toddlers born to mothers with bipolar that are easily frustrated or have negative emotions at higher risk for behavioral problems in the future.

A recent study examining the temperament and behavior of toddlers whose mothers have bipolar disorder shows that toddlers who struggle with frustration, restraint and negative emotions may be at an increased risk for behavioral problems over time. The study was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

In this study, the Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire and Child Behavior Checklist were used to assess the temperament of 30 toddlers between the ages of 18-36 months whose mothers have bipolar disorder. The toddlers' mothers were asked to rate the frequency of temperament-related behavior observed over the previous two weeks on a scale from one (never) to seven (always).

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