If Dad Ain't Happy, Nobody's Happy

Depression and unemployment related symptoms in fathers

(RxWiki News) Scientists knew that depressed moms can have a negative impact on their kids, but now it seems that depressed dads have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of their children as well.

In a follow up study published by the Maternal and Child Health Journal, researchers are now starting to look at the role that depressive fathers play in family dynamics.

The study also found a new leading cause of depression in fathers: unemployment.

"Contact a doctor if you are suffering from depression."

Not only do depressive dads affect their children, the causes of depression in fathers are increasing. While the previous study focused on how depression in parents affect children, the new study demonstrated causes of depression among fathers. 

Using a representative household sample of 7,247 families, researchers found that certain conditions increase the likelihood that a father will be depressed.

For instance, children living in poverty are 1.5 times as likely to have a depressed father, and they are 1.4 as likely to have a depressed dad if there is a special needs child in the house.  But they are 6.5 times more likely to have a depressed father if that father were unemployed.

"The findings reported in the current paper demonstrate factors that could help identify fathers who might benefit from clinical screening for depression, and we believe the results are particularly salient given the current financial crisis and concurrent increase in unemployment in the USA," said Dr. Weitzman.

"These new findings, we hope, will be useful to much needed efforts to develop strategies to identify and treat the very large number of fathers with depression."

The study was published in the online edition of Maternal and Child Health Journal on February 23, 2012 and was funded by the NYU School of Medicine. No funding conflicts were found.

No conflicts were presented.