A new study suggests that there might be a link between children with behavior problems and the fact that their fathers are suffering from depression.

Previous research has found that children’s brains can develop differently if their mother is depressed or stressed while pregnant, but this newly released study revealed that when 6 percent of children with non-depressed parents had behavior problems, 11 percent of children who had a depressed father reported behavior problems. Among children with depressed mothers, the incidence of behavior problems rises to 20 percent; when both the father and mother are depressed, that number jumps to 25 percent.

“There are countless articles on the effect of depression and other mental health problems in mothers on children, but this is virtually the first paper that we are aware of that has looked at similar effects in fathers,” study author Michael Weitzman said. “Despite all the progress in the past generation and facilitating women’s presence in the workplace…we find no attention to similar efforts to enhance the effects of fathers in raising their children. I think that depression is one of the greatest and least addressed public health problems in the nation, if not the world.”

Weitzman said he believed that external forces could perpetuate depression among adults for years to come. “The recession, unemployment, returning veterans [may all affect adults’ mental health], and therefore affect children,” he said.

Source: Fox News

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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