Depressed fathers can cause problems in children’s life, study says
NEW YORK- ReutersChildren whose fathers are depressed are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems than those whose fathers aren’t, according to a U.S. study of more than 20,000 families.
The issue is especially important at a time when many parents are out of work and struggling to support their families, while others are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with emotional wounds, said study author Michael Weitzman, at the New York University School of Medicine.
Though depression in mothers had long been associated with an increase in problems for children, this is one of the first times
the connection with depressed fathers has been studied on such a large scale, he added.
“In the big picture of caring about our children and trying to do whatever is best to help them achieve the highest potential ... clearly fathers are not regularly thought of,” Weitzman said. The findings, published in Pediatrics, also showed that children were most likely to have problems when both parents suffered from depression. At each interview, either the mother or the father answered questions about depression symptoms in both parents, as well as how much trouble children had getting along with their parents or other children, and behavior at home and at school.
Eleven percent of children with a depressed father had problems at home or at school, and 19 percent had problems if their mother was depressed.