Posts Tagged ‘ postpartum depression ’

How Depressed Dads Can Lead to Troubled Toddlers

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Sad boyIt has been proven that a mother’s depression has negative impacts on her children, but research was never done to provide information on whether or not a father’s depression has any effect—until now.

A recent study published online in the journal Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, has linked both mothers’ and fathers’ depression with troubling behaviors in children, in particular toddlers.

Researchers at Northwestern University gathered information from approximately 200 couples with 3-year-olds; the parents had all participated in a depression study at the time of their child’s birth. Each individual filled out a questionnaire that asked about “parental depression, their relationship with their partner, and their child’s internalizing behaviors (sadness, anxiety, jitteriness) and externalizing behaviors (acting out, hitting, lying),” reports Science Daily.

The study concluded that each parent’s level of depression impacted their child’s behaviors both internally and externally, and that paternal postnatal depression had a significant impact on toddler behavior. Depression affected children much more negatively than parental fighting because depressed parents were less likely to make eye contact, smile, bond, or engage with kids.

With this information, doctors may now begin to monitor both parents’ levels of depression—rather than only focusing on a mother’s potential for postpartum depression.

“Father’s emotions affect their children,” said Sheehan Fisher, the study’s lead author. “New fathers should be screened and treated for postpartum depression, just as we do for mothers.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Postpartum Depression: What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression: What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression: What Is Postpartum Depression?

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Young Dads Face Postpartum Depression Risk

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

A 25-year-old dad may be at risk for a surprising symptom of early parenthood–postpartum depression, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.  More from Time.com:

Men who entered into fatherhood at around age 25 saw a 68% increase of depressive symptoms over their first five years of being dads—if they lived at the same home as their children.

The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at 10,623 young men who were participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The study tracked the fathers for about 20 years, and kept score of their depression symptoms.

While fathers who didn’t share a home with their children didn’t experience the same high increase in depressive symptoms in early fatherhood, most of the fathers in the study did live with their children. Those men had lower depression symptoms before they became dads and experienced a spike in symptoms when their child was born and through the first few years.

Identifying depression symptoms in young fathers is critical, since earlier research shows that depressed dads read and interact less with their kids, are more likely to use corporal punishment, and are more likely to neglect their kids.

“Parental depression has a detrimental effect on kids, especially during those first key years of parent-infant attachment,” said lead study author Dr. Craig Garfield, an associate professor in pediatrics and medical social sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in a statement. “We need to do a better job of helping young dads transition through that time period.”

Image: Sad father, via Shutterstock

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Postpartum Depression May Last Beyond the First Year for Some

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

A new review of recent research on postpartum depression has found that its symptoms can affect some mothers for more than a year.  More from The Huffington Post:

A sweeping new review shines a light on this subset of women, finding that while symptoms of postpartum depression generally diminish with time, an estimated 30 to 50 percent of moms affected with the disorder continue to struggle with major depression throughout the first year after birth — and beyond. The review, its authors argue, highlights the need for clinicians to view women with postpartum depression, or PPD, as a highly heterogeneous group, and to understand that for many, there is no clear beginning or end.

“In some mothers … depressive symptoms indeed decrease over time after childbirth, consistent with the assumption of many researchers in the field that a majority of depressive episodes after childbirth resolve within three to six months,” said Sara Casalin, a researcher with the University of Leuven in Belgium and an author on the study, in an email to The Huffington Post. “However … in a substantial proportion of mothers with PPD, levels of depression do not always significantly decrease, and particularly do not decrease to normal levels.”

Recent estimates suggest that as many as 1 in 7 women battle postpartum depression for reasons that are not entirely known. PPD differs from the so-called “baby blues” — postpartum sadness, exhaustion and mood swings that are common among many women — both in terms of severity and timing. Baby blues generally lasts for only a few weeks after birth, while experts generally agree that postpartum depression can occur anytime within the first year.

The new review, published in the January/February issue of the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, considered 23 studies on postpartum depression conducted between 1985 and 2012. It found that for 38 percent of women with PPD, the disorder is the “prelude to the development of a chronic depressive disorder,” or may be the continuation of a pre-existing problem or vulnerability.

Image: Sad mother, via Shutterstock

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Depressed Mothers May Have Shorter Children

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Mothers who suffer from severe postpartum depression in the months after having their babies may actually have children who are shorter than their peers, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found.  From MSNBC.com:

Researchers who followed more than 6,000 mothers and babies found that when moms reported moderate to severe symptoms of depression in the nine months following delivery, their children were more likely to be shorter than others as kindergarteners, according to the report published in the journal Pediatrics.

In fact, 5-year-olds with moms who’d suffered symptoms of postpartum depression were almost 50 percent more likely than their peers to be in the shortest 10 percent of kids that age.

The new research doesn’t explain how kids with depressed moms end up shorter. That’s something the researchers are looking into right now, said the study’s lead author Pamela J. Surkan, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Surkan suspects, however, that depression might get in the way of nurturing.

“We think that mothers who are depressed or blue might have a hard time following through with caregiving tasks,” Surkan said.

Image: Child playing, via Shutterstock

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Study: Blogging Helps New Mothers Cope with Stress

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

A new study has found that new mothers who either read or write blogs report feeling less lonely, isolated, and stressed than mothers who don’t.  The study, performed by researchers at Penn State University and Brigham Young University, found that the emotional support mothers get from blogging benefits them in many areas of life.

“It looks like blogging might be helping these women as they transition into motherhood because they may begin to feel more connected to their extended family and friends, which leads them to feel more supported,” said Brandon T. McDaniel, graduate student in human development and family studies at Penn State in a statement “That potentially is going to spill out into other aspects of their well being, including their marital relationship with their partner, the ways that they’re feeling about their parenting stress, and eventually into their levels of depression.”

Social networking, including Facebook, did not appear to have the same benefits as blogging, the study found.  And blogging, though, helpful, was not an antidote to the stress of new motherhood.

“We’re not saying that those who end up feeling more supported all of a sudden no longer have stresses, they’re still going to have those stressful moments you have as a parent,” said McDaniel. “But because they’re feeling more supported, their thoughts and their feelings about that stress might change, and they begin to feel less stressed about those things.”

Image: Woman at a computer, via Shutterstock.

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