Aussie Study Confirms Father’s Postpartum Depression Hurts Children
Postpartum depression is a topic that we’ve been talking about since the early days of 8BitDad. It’s a real thing, and affects new fathers. But it’s not just new fathers that feel the burn from postpartum depression; a new study out of Australia shows that children may be in the ripple effect of PPD, specifically in relation to their fathers.
No one knows the exact percentage of PPD-affected fathers – Wikipedia puts the delta between – get this – 1.2% and 25.5%. Dr. Richard Fletcher, head of the “Fathers and Families” research program at the University of Newcastle, says 1.3% of fathers in their study experienced symptoms of depression.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the study, which included more than 2,600 families, found that “children whose fathers experienced depression when they were born were three times as likely as children without depressed fathers to have behavioural problems when they were aged between four and five.”
You might be wondering how researchers assessed depression and correlated it to behavioral problems, years later. Interpretation and reappropriation, obvi. Data was drawn from the “Longitudinal Study of Australian Children,” which also contains a “shortened version of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale.” That K6 scale measures self-reported, depressive symptoms over a period of 30 days.
Results were also gender-relational. “Early paternal depression was found to be more strongly associated with hyperactivity problems in boys than girls,” says the study, “but was more strongly associated with emotional problems in girls than boys.”
8BitDad‘s interpretation of the results: fathers are important!
The study appears in the Medical Journal of Australia where you can read the rest of the results, and if you’re sauce-lover, the original Sydney Morning Herald article can be accessed below.