Kids of Depressed Dads Likely to Have Emotional Problems

depression A study shows that children who live with a father who is depressed end up having higher rates of behavioral and emotional problems. This is the first study that has focused on depressed fathers. The results reveal the impact that fathers have in their children’s lives.

A new study, which was led by Dr. Michael Weitzman at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, is the first one that documents the effects that a father’s depression has on his children.

The researchers looked at a nationally representative sample that included almost 22,000 children. It was done over four years. The results showed that 11% of the children in the study who were living with depressed fathers ended up being diagnosed with behavioral and emotional problems.

19% of the kids in the study who were living with depressed mothers ended up with behavioral and emotional problems. Only 6% of the children in the study, the ones who were not living with any depressed parents, ended up with emotional or behavioral problems. The kids who were living with two depressed parents were 25% more likely to develop emotional or behavioral problems.

It has been said that one in ten adults in the United States has depression. This is something that tends to run in families, but I am unsure if that is due to a genetic reason, an environmental reason, or a bit of both. Depression can be treated, but that requires a depressed individual to seek help, and then to follow through with therapy. There are also some medications that can ease depression.

The authors if this study hope that the results will cause there to be more successful treatment given to fathers who are depressed. They also hope that better education will be given to health care workers, so that they will realize that they need to look for signs of depression in fathers.

This doesn’t mean that depressed mothers don’t affect their children in negative ways. They do, and there have been many studies done on this topic. The new study is significant because it shows that depressed fathers affect their children in negative ways, as well.

In my opinion, this study points out other valuable information. If depressed parents can influence their children to end up developing behavioral and emotional problems, then perhaps depressed parents who get help can, essentially, help their children to not have some of those problems anymore.

It is worth noting that you cannot necessarily assume that all children who have an emotional, or behavioral problem, have it because their parents were depressed. There could be other causes.

Image by Lloyd Morgan on Flickr