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Depressed Fathers Could Impact the Mental Health of Their Kids

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Volumes of research have been done showing that depressed mothers can negatively affect the health and well-being of their children. But what about depressed fathers?

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine found an increased rate of mental health problems in children whose fathers had depressive symptoms.

Lead investigator Michael Weitzman found among kids with evidence of emotional or behavioral problems, 15 percent had a father with depressive symptoms; 20 percent had a mother with such issues; and 25 percent had both a mother and a father with depressive symptoms.

The research, which included more than 7,200 families, is the first to use a large and nationally-representative sample of American households to investigate characteristics of fathers that are independently associated with increased rates of depressive symptoms.

“Fathers play profoundly important roles in the lives of children and families, and are all too often forgotten in our efforts to help children,” Dr. Weitzman said in a press release. “These new findings, we hope, will be useful to much needed efforts to develop strategies to identify and treat the very large number of fathers with depression.”

The study was published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.

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