A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that young fathers have the highest risk for depression during the first five years of parenthood. This time period also happens to be the most important years for a toddler when it comes to bonding and attachment.
Much attention has been given to combating the negative developmental impact depression in mothers can have on children. Until recently few have studied the impact depressed fathers can have. While maternal depression can impact 10 - 15% of women, and estimated 5 - 10% percent of new fathers also suffer. A new study out of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that symptoms of depression increased an average of 68% during the first five years of fatherhood for men who were in their mid-twenties when they became fathers and lived with their children.
Previous research by the study's lead scientist, Craig Garfield, found that paternal depression has a number of negative effects on a child's life. Depressed dads use more corporal punishment, read less and interact less with their children, and are more likely to be stressed and neglect their children. Children of depressed fathers are also at risk for having poor language and reading development and more behavior problems and conduct disorders.
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