Research

Fathers’ mental health problems harmful for kids

dIgitalhealth

Researchers at University of Oxford found that father’s mental health problems could be harmful for their kids. Such kids are more likely to have psychiatric or behavioural disorders. They also said that boys in particular could be affected if their father had depression or was an alcoholic.

The peak age for men to be affected by psychiatric disorders is the same as the peak age for becoming a father – between 18 and 35. Paternal depression during the postnatal period, measured at eight weeks after birth, has been linked to increasing the chance of the child subsequently developing behavioural and emotional problems from 10 percent to 20 percent.

During the study, researchers found that teenage offspring of depressed fathers also have an increased risk of various psychological problems, including depression and suicidal behaviour. Researchers said that around 2 percent of men are affected by generalised anxiety disorder, and children whose parents have anxiety disorders have a two-fold increased risk of developing such disorders themselves. Paternal alcoholism is also linked to an increased risk of mood disorders, depressive symptoms, poor performance at school, low self-esteem and problems forming relationships. The research team, led by psychiatrist Professor Paul Ramchandani, said more studies were needed on how fathers’ psychiatric disorders affect their children’s development.

dIgitalhealth

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