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Dad’s Depression Also Hits Kids

Friday, 24 Feb 2012 02:07 PM





It’s not just a mother’s state of mind that can influence a child’s mental health. New research shows children whose fathers struggle with depression are more likely to have mental-health problems as well.

The study, published in the online edition of Maternal and Child Health Journal, adds to the abundance of literature linking maternal depression to an increased risk of health problems in children.

Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine found significantly increased rates of mental health problems in children whose fathers had depressive symptoms. Children with depressed dads were 15 percent more likely to develop problems than kids with undiagnosed fathers. Kids whose moms have depression are 20 percent more likely to have problems. When both parents struggle with depression, children face a 25 percent greater risk, the study found.


"While the finding of increased rates of mental health problems among children whose fathers had depressive symptoms was not surprising...the fact that no prior large scale studies had investigated this issue is truly remarkable,” said study author Dr. Michael Weitzman, “as is the finding that one out of every four children with both a mother and a father with symptoms of depression have mental health problems."

He added that the study highlights "the urgent need to recognize the roles of fathers in the lives of children and families in clinical and public policy formulation.”

The NYU’s findings were based on an analysis of the health records of 7,247 American households in which mothers, fathers and children lived.

© HealthDay

 
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