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Infant development and parent mental health: The other relationship relationship

We need to consider the mental health of the whole family system while providing EI for infants and toddlers with medical and developmental conditions.

December 9, 2020

Last month we reviewed research on the effect of parent mental health on infant development, but what about the other direction? Can childhood conditions affect parent mental health?


Again, the short answer is yes. Journal-land is full of articles about how parents’ mental health, well, suffers when faced with unexpected challenges. But with all things involving human social systems, there’s more to unpack. Parenting any child is challenging, but parenting children who need additional care often requires extra energy, new knowledge, and lots of advocacy work, patience, time, and money. 


For some diagnoses, the connection seems pretty clear. Parents of infants who are medically fragile, who need heart surgery, and who are born very preterm, for example, are at risk for…

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