This Parent ‘Passes On’ Depression To Daughters

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One family relationship can be
particularly damaging for daughters.
Fathers who experience
postnatal depression can ‘pass on’ depression to their daughters, new research
Around one-in-twenty fathers
experience postnatal depression, on average. 
There was no link found
between fathers’ postnatal depression and their son’s depression.
It is not clear why daughters
are affected, but fathers’ postnatal depression may affect family functioning,
leading to conflict and maternal depression.
It could also be due to a
special link between fathers and daughters during adolescence.
The conclusions come from a
study of 3,176 families in the UK.
Professor Paul Ramchandani,
study co-author, said:
“…we were able to follow up
the young people from birth through to the age of 18, when they were
interviewed about their own experience of depression. 
Those young people whose
fathers had been depressed back when they were born had an increased risk of
depression at age 18 years. 
We were also able to look at
some of the ways in which depression in fathers might have affected children. 
It appears that depression in
fathers is linked with an increased level of stress in the whole family, and
that this might be one way in which offspring may be affected. 
Whilst many children will not
be affected by parental depression in this way, the findings of this study
highlight the importance of providing appropriate help to fathers, as well as
mothers, who may experience depression.”

Mr Mark Williams, a paternal
depression campaigner, said:
“In my experience of working
with families, it’s sometimes only the father who is suffering in silence but
sadly very few are asked about their mental health after becoming a parent.”
The study was published in the
journal JAMA Psychiatry (Gutierrez-Galve et al., 2018).
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.