New Study: Dad’s Mental Health Can Influence Child Behavior

Mom and dad.

A new study released today in Pediatrics medical journal is being called the most conclusive one yet when it comes to linking the behavior of children with their biological father’s mental condition.

According to a USA Today piece, over 30,000 kids in Norway were the focal point of the research conducted, with the children’s fathers asked to contribute answers to questions regarding their mental state during the mother’s pregnancy while their mothers answered inquiries delving into their child’s development path and any troubles/issues they might have been experiencing as they grew older.

In the end, the team conducting the study found that there was indeed a connection between father’s with mental health issues and their offspring. As the article’s writer Michelle Healy puts it, the study concluded that “…children whose fathers scored highly for psychological distress, depression and anxiety at week 17 or 18 of the baby’s gestation had higher levels of emotional and behavioral difficulties at age 3, including disruptive behavior, anxiety and problems getting along with other children.”

It is the first time that paternal mental health has been so intrinsically linked to childhood development in the womb; researchers have long understood the more direct connection between a mother’s mental condition and their unborn babies, but as far as being able to introduce the father to the equation, this study and its direct correlations ups the scientific ante quite a bit.

The study makes no mention of what might be the actual reasons behind the findings, but the lead author of the work, Anne Lise Kvalevaag of Helse Fonna Hospital in Norway told USA Today that some possibilities to consider would be a genetic trait passed along to the child, the father’s mental health affecting the mother’s during gestation/pregnancy, or the ingering presence of the dad’s mental issues after the child is born.

 

Image: flickr.com/photos/adselwood

Info source: USA Today

 

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More from Serge:

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Dear Old Man, Screw You: A Father’s Open Letter To Wintertime

Conversations With a Three Year Old: A Trip to the Santa Claus Shop

The Keys To the Kingdom of Everything: Why I’m Really Thankful To Be a Dad (PHOTOS)

 

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