Psychofunctional Symptoms and Maternal Depression: A Qualitative Study

Abstract This study aimed to understand the manifestation of psychofunctional symptoms in infants between six and 12 months, whose mothers presented depression. For this purpose, multiple case studies with three mother-infant pairs were qualitatively performed, and the following instruments were administered: interviews on socio-demographic and clinical data, M.I.N.I. PLUS, Symptom Checklist Questionnaire, EPDS, interview about pregnancy, childbirth and maternity experience, as well as IAP. The results showed the presence of several risk factors for depression common to all mothers, as well as singular psychodynamic aspects related to their life story. Also, we identified difficulty in the mother-infant interaction in all cases, indicating that depression damages the mother in the exercise of motherhood and in the tasks that this period demands, especially in interpreting to the baby what his/her body is expressing. Therefore, the psychofunctional symptom can be seen as a defensive response by the infant to maternal difficulties of understanding the baby’s body manifestations and interpreting them.