Link Between Depression In Fathers And Their Teen Children Found


A study out of University College London indicates teens are more likely to have depression if their fathers have depressive symptoms.

This is the first study to determine a link between depression in fathers and their adolescent children, independent of the mother’s mood state.

“There's a common misconception that mothers are more responsible for their children's mental health, while fathers are less influential; we found that the link between parent and teen depression is not related to gender,” said the study's lead author, Dr. Gemma Lewis.

The findings suggest family interventions for depression prevention should focus as much on fathers, as on mothers. “There has been far too much emphasis on mothers but fathers are important as well,” said senior study author Professor Glyn Lewis.

The researchers analyzed data from two longterm studies, one that surveyed 6,070 families, and the other 7,768 families. In the first study the parent’s depressive symptoms were assessed when the children were 9, and then adolescent symptoms were assessed when the children turned 13. In the second study, the children were 7 and 14 at each assessment. The studies included people who had not sought depression treatment.

After adjusting for maternal depression and other factors the analysis showed that for every three point increase in depressive symptoms by the father, as measured on the Mood and Feelings Questionnaire, there was a significant increase in teen depression scores.

“Men are less likely to seek treatment for depression. If you're a father who hasn't sought treatment for your depression, it could have an impact on your child,” said Dr. Lewis. “We hope that our findings could encourage men who experience depressive symptoms to speak to their doctor about it.”

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Rolands Lakis


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