Guardian.co.uk April 16 2008
Postnatal depression in fathers can have long-term psychological effects on their children, a new study reveals. The babies of depressed men are twice as likely to suffer from behavioural problems in later years as those whose fathers are not depressed, the Children of the 90s survey by the University of Bristol found. The results reflected the father’s role in socialising their children and raised questions about the age at which children become sensitive to their parents’ moods, researchers said. Psychiatrists warned that the findings could be a portent of future social problems as paternal postnatal depression becomes more widespread.
Postnatal depression is said to affect about one mother in 10 but is less well recognised, and more controversial, in new fathers. Different research has found that 3-10% of men are affected. “Conduct problems at this age are strongly predictive of later serious conduct problems, increased criminality and significantly increased societal costs,” Paul Ramchandani, an Oxford University psychiatrist, wrote in the paper, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry this month.