A new study in the United States found that daughters of fathers who experience postpartum depression are more likely to suffer from depression during adolescence.
In a new study by researchers from Imperial College London, University College London, Oxford University and the University of Bristol, 3,176 families were studied to study the connection between fathers depression eight weeks after the birth of their children and their children. risk of depression at age 18.
The researchers also included such factors as mother’s depression, parental involvement in the child’s life, conflict between parents and any behavioral problems in children, and hyperactivity at the age of 3.5 years.
The results, published in JAMA Psychiatry, showed that there is a “small but significant” increased risk of depression for girls aged 18 if their fathers experienced depression after their birth.
However, the sons did not have an increased risk of depression.
It is unclear why at this age girls may suffer from paternal postpartum depression, but researchers have suggested that depression in any of the parents can disrupt family life and cause higher levels of stress for the whole family, as well as affect how parents interact with their children. .
The specific aspects of the relationship between father and daughter can explain why, when girls go through adolescence, they themselves are at a higher risk of depression if their fathers also suffered from depression.
Co-author Professor Paul Ramchandani said: “Studies in this study of families in Bristol have already shown that fathers can suffer from depression in the postpartum period, as well as from mothers. New in this article is that we were able to follow the young people. people from birth to 18, when they were interviewed about their own experiences of depression. "
“We were also able to look at some of the ways that depression in fathers could affect children. It seems that depression in fathers is associated with increased levels of stress in the whole family, and that this may be one of the ways in which the offspring can be affected.
"Despite the fact that parents' depression will not affect many children in this way, the results of this study emphasize the importance of providing appropriate assistance to fathers, as well as mothers who may experience depression.
Researchers also note that almost one in 20 new fathers suffers from depression within weeks after the birth of their child.