Post-natal depression doesn’t just impact moms. Dads can experience it, too and it can have some future implications on their kids as well. A study has revealed a unique link between depression in fathers and daughters.
New research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry has found that one in 20 new dads suffer from depression in the weeks after their baby is born. The study also revealed that those daughters of men who experience post-natal depression were more likely to experience depression as well by age 18. The increased risk was small, but significant—but it didn’t impact sons.
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While it is unclear why girls specifically are more affected and at this specific age, the researchers believe it might have something to do with father-daughter relationships as girls go through adolescence. Another reason for the connection between dads and daughters might be that paternal depression is also linked to greater maternal depression which leads to greater family stress overall.
“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,” explained Professor Paul Ramchandani of the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.
He continued, “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.”