Ruth Feldman, a professor at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, found 60 percent of children born to mothers who were consistently depressed across the first year of the children’s lives exhibited mental disorders when they were older. The children, similar to their mothers, also showed disordered functioning of the Oxytocin system.
Oxytocin, a mammalian hormone, is involved with sexual reproduction, childbirth, breastfeeding and pair bonding.
Researchers studied the mental health status, Oxytocin levels, genetic variation in Oxytocin receptors and interactions in 155 mother-child pairs during at-home visits. The mothers were surveyed for mental health symptoms at the birth of their child, and at 6 and 9 months after the birth of their child.