Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mom Blue? Dad's Turn to Step Up

St. Louis University released findings on a study that showed children with depressed mothers are less likely to develop problem behaviors if their fathers are active in family life.

The 10-year study is the first to look at the father's role when the household has a depressed mother. Previous studies have shown that having a mother who suffers from depression increases the likelihood of developing aggression problems, hyperactivity, depression and anxiety.

The father's relative role was determined by questioning children aged 10 and older. The researchers asked the children questions about their relationship with their father. Examples include; how often they talked about important decisions, how well the father listened, how often the father attended events or activities, and how close they felt to their father.

Dr. Jen Jen Chang, assistant professor of community health in epidemiology at the Saint Louis University School of Public Health commented on her study,"Once we factored in a father's positive involvement, I observed that the adverse impact of the mother's depression was attenuated. The father served as a buffer. He may have engaged with the children when the mother wasn't available due to her illness."

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