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Children living with a father who shows signs of depression or other mental health problem will very likely have behavioral or emotional problems themselves when compared to children who do not live with a depressed father. Researchers from the New York School of Medicine have reported their findings in the journal Pediatrics.
It is well known and researched that a child living with a mother’s depression leads to increased risk of mental and physical compromises for her children. There has been much less research on the effect of the father’s depression, probably because he mother is usually the primary caretaker and nurturer. The father’s depressive state still has an impact on his children, regardless of the role he plays in the family.
The researchers looked at almost 22,000 kids who lived in a two parent household. They found the highest risk for kids came when their mother was depressed. The risk was greater than if the father demonstrated depressive symptoms. The rate of behavioral and emotional risk is 25% if both parents have symptoms of depression. It is 19% if just eh mother is affected and 11% if the father is affected by himself. If neither parent shows signs of depression, the child still has a 6% chance of behavioral or emotional problems.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to use a representative US sample to demonstrate that living with fathers with depressive symptoms and other mental health problems is independently associated with increased rates of emotional or behavioral problems of children,” the authors stated.
Source: Pediatrics, MedicalNewsToday
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