The psychopathology of one or both partners can be considered a vulnerability factor which affects the couple’s ability to deal with stressful situations, and therefore it can interfere with the caregiving functions. In particular, the mother’s depression during pregnancy and the possible depression of her partner are factors which, for both, raise the probability of causing unpredictable and incoherent relational patterns in the emotional communication with their child. In the light of the data which correlate the inattentive-detached maternal behaviour and the officious-rejective behaviour with maternal depression, there are good reasons to suppose that children of depressed mothers have more chances to develop an insecure attachment and to show behaviour disturbances and depressive symptoms. In this interactive functioning which is the role of father? Is paternal role a protective factor within mother-father-child system? The aim of this review paper is to draw the state of the art concerning maternal depression as a risk factor for the development of parental skills and to highlight paternal role in the mother-child relationship, as a protective function with respect to maternal depression.
Keywords: Intergenerational transmission, maternal psychopathology, maternal function, paternal function, attachment.
Grazia Terrone, Alessandro Musetti, Simona Di Folco, Rocco Filipponeri Pergola, Maternal and paternal depression: Risk and protective factors in parenthood. in "MALTRATTAMENTO E ABUSO ALL’INFANZIA" 1/2017, pp. 105-132, DOI:10.3280/MAL2017-001007