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.

OBJECTIVE:The association of perinatal psychological adversity (ie, stressors and distress) with infant lung function (ILF) and development is not well studied in Africa and elsewhere. We determined the association between maternal perinatal psychological adversity and ILF in African infants. DESIGN:Prospective longitudinal follow up of the Drakenstein Child Health Study birth cohort. PARTICIPANTS:Seven hundred and sixty-two infants aged 6 to 10 weeks and 485 infants who had data for both maternal perinatal psychological adversity and ILF (measured at 6 to 10 weeks and 12 months). METHODS:The main analyses were based on cross-sectional measures of ILF at each assessment (6 to 10 weeks or 12 months), using generalized linear models, and then on the panel-data of both longitudinal ILF assessments, using generalised estimating equations, that allowed specification of the within-group correlation structure. RESULTS:Prenatal intimate partner violence (IPV) exposure was associated with reduced respiratory resistance at 6 to 10 weeks (beta coefficient [β] = -.131, P = .023); postnatal IPV with reduced ratio of time to peak tidal expiratory flow over total expiratory time (tPTEF /tE ) at 12 months (β = -.206, P = .016); and prenatal depression with lower respiratory rate at 6 to 10 weeks (β = -.044, P = .032) and at 12 months (β = -.053, P = .021). Longitudinal analysis found an association of prenatal IPV with reduced tPTEF /tE (β = -.052, P < .0001); postnatal IPV with decreased functional residual capacity (FRC; β = -.086, P < .0001); prenatal posttraumatic stress disorder with increased FRC (β = .017, P < .0001); prenatal depression with increased FRC (β = .026, P < .0001) and postnatal depression with increased FRC (β = .021, P < .0001). CONCLUSION:Screening for psychological adversity and understanding the mechanisms involved may help identify children at risk of altered lung development and inform approaches to treatment.

Original publication





Pediatric pulmonology

Publication Date



Department of Clinical Research (Neurosciences), KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya.