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Study says depression in fathers during pregnancy is related to behavioral issues in kids

A research study has found that depression during their partners pregnancy can affect the emotional and behavioral development of the unborn children l...

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|Jan 9|magazine6 min read

A research study has found that depression during their partner’s pregnancy can affect the emotional and behavioral development of the unborn children later in life.

The researchers examined the effect on children who were 36 months old. The researchers took the data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, which included 31,663 children.

The team of investigators also used the information on the father’s mental health obtained from self-reporting using the Hopkins Checklist during the 17th or the 18th week of gestation.

The mother’s pre-natal and postnatal mental health along with the child’s socio emotional and behavioral development was taken from parent-report questionnaires, which were filled out about half-way through the pregnancy.

Anne Lise Kvalevaag, a researcher and doctoral candidate at the University of Bergen said, “This study suggests that some risk of future child, emotional, behavioral, and social problems can be identified during pregnancy.” 

Meanwhile, the results of the study showed that 3% of the fathers suffered from high levels of psychological distress and the children of these fathers suffered from high levels of psychological distress and the children of these fathers had higher levels of emotional and behavioral issues even after the researchers adjusted the results from other potential factors such as age, income and marital status.

The researchers also stated that there could be a number of mechanisms that explain this relation between the fathers’ psychological distress and emotional problems of their children.

The depression in fathers could also negatively impact the mental health of their expectant partners and lead to negative effects on the child.

Fathers who were depressed during pregnancy also tended to struggle with depression after their children were born. The study is helpful for clinicians and policy makers who are interested in healthcare planning since the results of the study show that pregnancy is an optimum period for prevention intervention.

Scientists also believe that further studies are needed to delve deeper into this topic and more thoroughly explore the link between gestational depression in parents and sociobehaviorial issues in their children.