Nearly 20 percent of fathers and more than 33 percent of mothers experience some depression before their child is 12 years old. Based on a new study, the rate is highest during the first year after birth, and may have adverse effects on the child as well.
A study performed by the University College London, discovered 14 percent of mothers and nearly 4 percent of fathers had some depression during the first year after their child was born. Causing this depression and stress were less sleep, additional responsibilities, and additional demands on the relationship as a couple. During the first 12 years of a child’s life, nearly 8 percent of mothers experienced depression in any single year, and almost 1 in every 37 fathers suffered from depression as well. The study discovered vulnerabilities for depression as age of parents (between 15-24 years old), and those with past depression issues.
While screening tests for mothers exist, there is currently no test to quickly notice depression in the father. This study proves the need to change policies and assist depressed fathers as well.
Depressed parents can greatly affect behavior in children so discovering and treating depression as early as possible in a child’s life is extremely important according to researchers. Providing additional support to those with the highest risk factors, like young parents, is also recommended.
For this study, 86,957 families, between 1993 and 2007, were evaluated. Parents who experienced depression were chosen based on health records and analyzed for upwards of 12 years.
19,286 mothers suffered an overall total of 25,176 bouts of depression.
8,012 fathers suffered an overall total of 9,683 bouts of depression.
This study analyzed depression symptoms in parents during most of a child’s life. It may provide a detailed picture for depression in the father. Researchers express the importance of this study by explaining how it can help pinpoint those noticing the highest risk factors and to assist as necessary based upon those factors.