Depression in Dads Hurts Kids

More research needed into effects of fathers' mental health, experts say
By Jess Kilby,  Newser User
Posted May 4, 2009 8:28 AM CDT
While most data on mental health and parenting focuses on mothers, current research on the impact of fathers indicates that more study is warranted.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – With modern fathers often more directly involved in parenting than previous generations, researchers say it’s time to pay closer attention to the impact of paternal mental health on children, the BBC reports. Existing evidence suggests that children of alcoholic or depressive fathers are likely to suffer psychiatric or behavior problems, too—especially sons.

For example, research shows that dads who are depressed during the 8 weeks after a baby’s birth bump up that child’s chances of developing mental health problems from 10% to 20%. "In years gone by, if fathers were depressed and distant it may not have made much of an impact,” says one researcher. “We now need a more general understanding of what effects psychiatric problems in fathers can have on children."