Depression is more frequent in women, affecting the early stages of child development. This study aimed to determine the association between maternal depression and self-regulation of emotions and behaviors in Peruvian children under five years. A cross-sectional analytical study of data collected by the 2019 Demographic and Family Health Survey (ENDES) was conducted. The outcome variable was emotion and behavior regulation in children aged 24 to 59 months, and exposure was the presence of depression in women aged 15 to 49 years during the 14 days prior to the survey using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). A generalized linear model of the binomial family was used for reporting crude prevalence ratios and adjusted. The overall prevalence of children who did not self-regulate their emotions and behaviors was 68.8%, while 3.8% of the mothers had moderate depressive symptoms and 2.2% severe symptoms. Regarding the association of interest, moderate and severe depressive symptoms of mothers decreased the probability of children regulating emotions and behaviors in the first model, whereas in the second model, an association was only found with severe depressive symptoms. In conclusion, children of mothers with moderate and severe depressive symptoms had a lower probability of self-regulating their emotions and behaviors. Therefore, it is necessary to develop maternal education, nutritional and social support programs and mental health strategies from the first level of care aimed at reducing social, economic and child factors to reduce the risk of depression in mothers and low early childhood development, which could reduce the risk of developing mental health disorders in adolescence and adulthood.
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The authors are grateful to Donna Pringle for reviewing the language and style.
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