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Maternal common mental disorder and infant growth--a cross-sectional study from MalawiStewart, R C; Umar, E; Kauye, F; Bunn, J; Vokhiwa, M; Fitzgerald, M; Tomenson, B; Rahman, A; Creed, F; Department of Community Health, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi; Zomba Mental Hospital, Zomba, Malawi; Médecins Sans Frontières, Thyolo, Malawi; Population Health Service Executive, Dr Stevens Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Department of Psychiatry, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK (2008-07-01)The objective of the study was to investigate the association between maternal common mental disorder (CMD) and infant growth in rural Malawi. A cross-sectional study was conducted at a district hospital child health clinic. Participants were consecutive infants due for measles vaccination, and their mothers. Mean infant weight-for-age and length-for-age z-scores were compared between infants of mothers with and without CMD as measured using the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ). Of 519 eligible infants/mothers, 501 were included in the analysis. Median infant age was 9.9 months. 29.9% of mothers scored 8 or above on the SRQ indicating CMD. Mean length-for-age z-score for infants of mothers with CMD (-1.50 SD 1.24) was significantly lower than for infants of mothers without CMD (-1.11 SD 1.12) Student's t-test: P = 0.001. This association was confirmed in multivariate analysis. Mean weight-for-age z-score for infants of mothers with CMD (-1.77 SD 1.16) was lower than for infants of mothers without CMD (-1.59 SD 1.09) but this difference was not significant on univariate (Student's t-test: P = 0.097) or multivariate analysis. The study demonstrates an association between maternal CMD and infant growth impairment in rural sub-Saharan Africa.