Father’s depression can be passed on to children

Research from Penn State and Michigan has revealed that parental depression may be a contributing factor behind the growing rise of teen depression and behavioral problems.

“Many studies have focused on depression,” says Jenae Neiderhiser, faculty co-funding Institute for Social Sciences and professor of psychology, human development, and family studies at Penn State. feelings in biologically related families. “There is more and more information available for adoptive and mixed families now.”

‘Research has explored the effects on children’s behavior and greater depression in parent-child pairs that are genetically linked.’

The researchers looked at naturally occurring variations in genetic relationships between parents and their adolescent children in 720 families participating in the Unshared Environment study during the course of the study. juvenile development (NEAD), with more than half of those families having custodial parents.

How does parental depression affect children?

Mothers, fathers, and children all answered questions to measure depressive symptoms, behavior, and parent-child conflict. The researchers then examined the link between the mother’s depressive symptoms and the child’s behavioral symptoms in a variety of models.

Neiderhiser and Alex Burt, professors of clinical science at Michigan State, and their colleagues found that maternal depression is associated with adolescent depression and behavioral problems in adulthood. adolescents regardless of whether their father and child are genetically related.


“The results point to the environmental transmission of depression and behavior between fathers and children,” says Burt, who has collaborated on projects with Neiderhiser since the early 2000s. families in which the father is biologically related to one participating child but not to the other child, which is an important confirmation of our results. We also find that much of this effect seems to be a function of parent-child conflict. These types of findings add to the evidence that parent-child conflict acts as an environmental predictor of adolescent behaviors. ”

“It would be great to do more studies on step families and combined families,” she said. “They tend to be an underutilized natural experiment that we can learn more from to help us unpack the impact of environmental and genetic factors on families.”

Source: Eurekalert


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