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The functions of postpartum depression

By Edward Hagen


Evolutionary approaches to parental care suggest that parents will not automatically invest in all offspring, and should reduce or eliminate investment in their children if the costs outweigh the benefits. Lack of paternal or social support will increase the costs born by mothers, whereas infant health problems will reduce the evolutionary benefits to be gained. Numerous studies support the correlation between postpartum depression (PPD) and lack of social support or indicators of possible infant health and development problems. PPD may be an adaptation that informs mothers that they are suffering or have suffered a fitness cost, that motivates them to reduce or eliminate investment in offspring under certain circumstances, and that may help them negotiate greater levels of investment from others. PPD also appears to be a good model for depression in general

Topics: Sociobiology, Clinical Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology
Year: 1999
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