Background: Children of parents diagnosed with complex mental health problems including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, are at increased risk of developing mental health problems compared to the general population. Little is known regarding the early developmental trajectories of infants who are at ultra-high risk and in particular the balance of risk and protective in the quality of early caregiver-interaction.
Methods/Design: We are establishing a cohort of pregnant women with a lifetime diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and a non-psychiatric control group. Factors in the parents, the infant and the social environment will be evaluated at 1, 4, 16 and 52 weeks in terms of evolution of very early indicators of developmental risk and resilience focusing on three possible environmental transmission mechanisms: stress, maternal caregiver representation, and caregiver-infant interaction.
Discussion: The study will provide data on very early risk developmental status and associated psychosocial risk factors, which will be important for developing targeted preventive interventions for infants of parents with severe mental disorder.
- high-risk infants
- risk development
- bipolar disorder
- cohort study