Fathers’ Mental Health Effect on Child Development StudiedLast Updated: May 05, 2009. Psychiatric disorders among fathers deserve more attention from clinicians and researchers because they have a significant impact on children's psychosocial development, according to a study published online May 5 in The Lancet.
TUESDAY, May 5 (HealthDay News) -- Psychiatric disorders among fathers deserve more attention from clinicians and researchers because they have a significant impact on children's psychosocial development, according to a study published online May 5 in The Lancet.
Paul Ramchandani, M.D., of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and a colleague reviewed 1,664 relevant research publication citations to evaluate the connection between paternal mental health and a child's psychosocial development.
The researchers found that serious psychiatric disorders are common among men, citing incidences of 3 to 6 percent for depression, 2 percent for anxiety, and 1 to 14 percent for drug or alcohol abuse. Although maternal psychiatric disorders have been better studied, paternal psychiatric disorders have an equivalent effect in increasing the risk of behavioral and emotional disorders in children, and may have an even more significant effect on behavioral disorders in boys.
"It is important to be aware of the possibility that some fathers might suffer from serious psychiatric disorders," the authors conclude. "Women are actively screened for postnatal depression in many countries; however, the possibility that men might also be depressed during this time has, until recently, been almost entirely ignored. Findings that children could be at increased risk of behavioral problems when their fathers are depressed in the postnatal period, as well as when their mothers are, indicate an opportunity for potential intervention. Additional focus on the mental health of fathers is likely not only to benefit them, but to create an opportunity to help improve the lives of their children."
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