Study Finds Fathers Who Experience Post-Natal Depression Links to Future Depression Among Daughters

A new study of more than 3,000 families in the Bristol, England area found that fathers and mothers can experience post-natal depression, which could negatively affect their daughter’s future mental health. The study also found that sons were not affected by this risk.

The study titled, “Association of Maternal and Paternal Depression in the Post-natal Period with Offspring Depression at Age 18 Years” found that girls had a higher chance of experiencing depression at the age of 18 if their father went through post-natal depression after their birth. Researchers of the study have followed the mental health of young people from birth until they reach the age of 18.

Dr. Paul RamchandaniDr. Paul Ramchandani

Authors of the study did not determine why girls might be more affected by this than boys at the same age, but said it’s possible that it could be linked to certain parts of father-daughter relationships.

“It appears that depression in fathers is linked with an increased level of stress in the whole family, and that this might be one way in which offspring may be affected,” Dr. Paul Ramchandani, co-author of the study and professor at the University of Cambridge told “Whilst many children will not be affected by parental depression in this way, the findings of this study highlight the importance of providing appropriate help to fathers, as well as mothers, who may experience depression.”

The study also found that fathers who experience post-natal depression created a possible link to behavioral and emotional problems in their children during the ages of three-and-a-half and seven.

Monica Levitan can be reached at [email protected]. You can follow her on Twitter @monlevy_.

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