A third of mothers who skipped a medical checkup for their babies in fiscal 2001 in Kitakyushu were found to be suffering from depression and may have abused their children, according to a survey released recently.

The survey, conducted jointly by the University of Tokyo and the city, shows 16 out of 48 mothers polled who failed to take their 1-year-old children to the medical checkup provided by the city that year were depressed, compared with 26 out of the 137 women surveyed who took their children.

“I believe many mothers who do not go to the checkup are in a state of postpartum depression,” said Mami Kamiya, a professor at St. Luke’s College of Nursing in Tokyo. Kamiya is a member of the survey team.

It also found that eight of the mothers who did not go to the checkup had a tendency to abuse their children in such ways as hitting and kicking them, compared with nine of those who brought their children to the checkup.

Another member of the survey team said there is a concern that mothers who did not respond to the survey may have a higher tendency of depression and child abuse.

The poll covered 137 mothers who went to the checkup and 48 who skipped it.

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