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Healthcare

Post-natal Depression in Fathers can Cause Depression in Adolescence of Daughters

According to new research children of those parents who experience post-natal depression face emotional problems in their teenage life. As per the study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry and co-authored by Professor Paul Ramchandani of the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, there is at least one out of 20 new fathers who go through the phase of depression just after the baby is born.

A study of 3,000 families in the UK showed that there is a link between the post-natal depression in the fathers and their child specifically daughters when they reach their adulthood life. At 18 mostly those girls were at greater risk of depression whose fathers went through the same condition after they were born. Though this risk factor contributes only a little in depression but is considered as significant as this link has only been observed in daughters and not in sons.

Researchers concluded that this “handing on” effect might be just because the post-natal depression is associated with early maternal depression. A higher level of stress will ultimately cause the family life to be disturbed.

Also, if both the parents are going through the phase of depression, then their interaction with their children also needed to be count. However, still, the fact remains unclear that why only girls are affected in their adulthood and not sons. As per the researchers, there might be some specific links between the father and daughter relationship as the girl reaches her adolescence.

Previously it was understood that the mother could fall victim to depression after delivery but the recent findings will change our understanding and application of perinatal services. The recent findings highlight the importance of diagnosing and treating postnatal depression in fathers and consulting the health specialists for both the parents if anyone of them reports of experiencing depression.

“Research from this study of families in Bristol has already shown that fathers can experience depression in the postnatal period as well as mothers. What is new in this paper is that we were able to follow up the young people from birth through to the age of 18, when they were interviewed about their own experience of depression. Those young people whose fathers had been depressed back when they were born had an increased risk of depression at age 18 years, said Professor Ramchandani.

“We were also able to look at some of the ways in which depression in fathers might have affected children. 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. 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.”

Mark Williams the paternal depression crusader said: “Fathers’ Postnatal Depression impacts on the whole family when unsupported, often resulting in fathers using negative coping skills, avoiding situations and often feeling anger. In my experience of working with families, it’s sometimes only the father who is suffering in silence but sadly very few are asked about their mental health after becoming a parent.”

The same team previously made a research and found that there is also a link between the post-natal depression and psychological problems in children at the age of three and a half and seven. This is just because paternal depression disturbs the family and in return cause maternal depression.

Emma Colleen

Emma’s professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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