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Bachpan: Perinatal Depression and Early

Childhood Development

Within the broader question of how early life shapes life-course trajectories of mental health, Bachpan, meaning "childhood" in Urdu (previously known as the SHARE CHILD study), is a that study focuses on the early childhood mechanisms through which maternal depression, and its treatment, shapes child developmental trajectories.  

We do this through a close collaboration with an ongoing cluster RCT of a community based perinatal depression intervention in rural Pakistan (“SHARE-THPP+”, a peer led and longer duration version of the THP) and our focus is on child socioemotional, cognitive, and physical development in the first three years of life. A central question is to examine heterogeneity of treatment effects by social contextual factors such as socioeconomic status, household composition, or parenting.  

Our Specific Aims include:

Aim 1: To evaluate the impact of a perinatal depression intervention on child outcomes

Main Hypothesis: Randomization to the intervention arm will result in improved child socioemotional, cognitive, and physical outcomes 36 months postpartum, relative to those in the control arm.

Secondary Hypotheses: (1) Children born to depressed mothers in the intervention arm will have outcomes equivalent to those whose mothers were non-depressed prenatally in the control arm; (2) The duration of exposure to maternal depression will predict child developmental outcomes.

Aim 2: To examine the role of improved parenting as a mediator between the perinatal depression intervention and child outcomes.

Aim 3: To determine how the effects of the perinatal depression intervention on child outcomes vary by social context factors such as family composition, socioeconomic status, and presence of interpersonal violence.


 Data collection for this project is currently ongoing. Mothers were interviewed prenatally and then mother-child dyads are assessed at 3, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months post-partum.


Additionally, with economist colleagues Baranov, Bhalotra, Biroli and Adeline Delavande we are investigating women’s financial empowerment, beliefs, investments in children, and models of early human capital formation along with additional data on cortisol for mothers and children.

Co-investigators on this project include: Siham Sikander, Atif Rahman, Lisa Bates, Elizabeth TurnerKaren O'Donnell.

To learn more, visit the Bachpan Study website.

Funded by National Institutes of Health, NICHD, R01 HD075875 (PI: Maselko)


In collaboration with Human Development Research Foundation (HDRF) and the South Asian Hub for Advocacy, Research & Education (SHARE

Sri Lanka photo for website with waterma

Preparing for conducting the interviews


Father involvement in the first year of life: Associations with maternal mental health and child development outcomes in rural Pakistan​

Social Science & Medicine 237 (2019)

  • Maselko J., Hagaman AK., Bates LM., Bhalotra S., Biroli P., Gallis JA., O'Donnell K., Sikander S., Turner EL., Rahman A.

The relationship between responsive caregiving and child outcomes: evidence from direct observations of mother-child dyads in Pakistan

BMC Public Health (2019) 19:252

  • Scherer E., Hagaman A., Chung E., Rahman A., O'Donnell K., Maselko J.

Criterion-related validity and reliability of the Urdu version of the patient health questionnaire in a sample of community-based pregnant women in Pakistan.

PeerJ, 2018, 6:e5185​

  • Gallis JA, Maselko J, O’Donnell K, Song K, Saqib K, Turner EL, Sikander S.

Cvcrand and cptest: Commands for efficient design and analysis of cluster randomized trials using constrained randomization and permutation tests.

Stata Journal, 2018, 18:357-378.

  • Gallis JA, Li F, Yu H, Turner EL

'Socioeconomic status indicators and common mental disorders: Evidence from a study of prenatal depression in Pakistan'

SSM, 2018, Population Health, 4: 1-9.

  • Maselko, J., L. Bates, S. Bhalotra, J. Gallis, K. O'Donnell, S. Sikander, E. L. Turner, and A. Rahman

 Review of recent methodological developments in group-randomized trials: Part 2 - Analysis.

AJPH, 2017, 107(7):1078-1086

  • Turner EL, Prague M, Gallis J, Li F, Murray DM

Social Epidemiology and Global Mental Health: Expanding the Evidence from High-Income to Low- and Middle-Income Countries. 

Current epidemiology reports, 2017, 4(2), 166–173. doi:10.1007/s40471-017-0107-y

  • Maselko, J.

Review of recent methodological developments in group-randomized trials: Part 1 - Design.

AJPH, 2017,107(6):907-915 303706

  • Turner EL, Li F, Gallis J, Prague M, Murray DM

The effectiveness of the peer delivered Thinking Healthy Plus (THPP+) Programme for maternal depression and child socio-emotional development in Pakistan: Study protocol for a three-year cluster randomized trial.

Trials, 2016; 17 (1): e442 doi: 10.1186/s13063-016-1530-y

  • Turner EL., Sikander S., Bangash O., Zaidi A., Bates L., Gallis J., ^Ganga N., O’Donnell K., Rahman A., Maselko J.

Socioeconomic status indicators and common mental disorders: Evidence from a study of prenatal depression in Pakistan.

SSM-Population Health, 2018; 4: 1-9 doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2017.10.004

  • Maselko J., Bates LM., Bhalotra S., Gallis J., O’Donnell K., Sikander S., Turner E.

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