Study: Depressed Dads Make Depressed Kids

If someone were to tell you that depressed parents make depressed kids, you’d think it’s more or less obvious. But fleshing out the reasons a kid turns out depressed makes things more complicated. In the past, mothers had been analyzed – but now science is looking toward fathers as well. Ya know, because in my experience, at least, it takes two to tango.

CNN reports about Michael Weitzman, a professor of pediatric medicine at New York University, and head honcho on a study that declares that it’s about time we look at fathers. Weitzman says that not only do fathers matter, but they matter “a lot.” Awww shucks – thanks Mikey!

The study found that depressed parents of both genders effect kids. The following percentages represent the amount of kids who develop behavioral problems, sad feelings and social problems:

  • When both parents are mentally healthy – 6%
  • When father is depressed – 11%
  • When mother is depressed – 19%
  • When both parents are depressed – 25%

These show that without a doubt, fathers matter, emotionally-speaking. And while a child’s attitudes are adopted from parents – it’s easy for us non-science-types to forget that depression is also something that can be genetically passed-down the line to offspring.

The method of determining depression came from interviews – “nearly 22,000 two-parent families who participated in federal health surveys between 2004 and 2008,” according to CNN. “During in-home visits, researchers interviewed one adult in each household — typically the mother — about the mental health of all family members.”

The study only polled children living with both parents, so single-parent households are not accounted-for. And according to CNN, “Boys, 12- to 17-year-olds, and white children with depressed dads had higher rates of emotional and behavioral problems than did girls, younger kids, and children of other ethnicities.”

The study will be in the December issue of Pediatrics. Check the sauce for the rest of CNN‘s story.

CNN

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Author: Zach Rosenberg View all posts by
is married and has one son. You can also find his writing on HLN, The Good Men Project and The Huffington Post. He is an avid gamer, rides unicorns, and loves rainbows.
  • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

    WE owe it to our kids to get past our depression – if that means meds, then get ‘em!