Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

A Strong Marriage Can Shield Kids From Dad's Depression: Study

TUESDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- A father's depression may not have a negative effect on his children if he has a strong marriage, according to a new study.

Although depressed dads may have difficulty addressing the emotional needs of their children, researchers from the University of Illinois found if these fathers have a supportive spouse who listens they may be able to improve their interactions with their children.

"When a parent is interacting with their child, they need to be able to attend to the child's emotional state, be cued in to his developmental stage and abilities, and notice whether he is getting frustrated or needs help. Depressed parents have more difficulty doing that," Nancy McElwain, a professor of human development, explained in a University of Illinois news release.

In conducting the study, the researchers examined information on 606 children and their parents enrolled in a study on early child development done by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

When their child was 4.5 years old, parents ranked their symptoms of depression and their perceptions of emotional intimacy in their marriage. The researchers also observed the parents interacting with their child during semi-structured activities. This interaction was repeated when the children were 6.5 years old.

"A supportive spouse appears to buffer the effects of the father's depression. We can see it in children's behavior when they're working with their dad. The kids are more persistent and engaged," the study's lead author, Jennifer Engle, said in the news release.

"At this stage of a child's development, an engaged parent is very important," Engle added. "The son's or daughter's ability to focus and persist with a task when they are frustrated is critical in making a successful transition from preschool to formal schooling."

Although the depressed dads with a supportive spouse had better interactions with their child, the study revealed that depressed moms did not benefit from the same level of intimacy in their marriage. The authors suggested one explanation for this discrepancy is that women respond differently to depression.

"Men tend to withdraw; women tend to ruminate," Engle explained. "We think that high emotional intimacy and sharing in the marriage may encourage a woman's tendency to ruminate about her depression, disrupting her ability to be available and supportive with her children."

In contrast, depressed men are more likely to withdraw from their partners. "This makes emotional intimacy in the marriage an important protective factor for fathers," McElwain noted.

The researchers advised parents suffering from depression to seek help from their spouse, friends, family and medical professionals.

The study was published recently online in Developmental Psychology.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about depression.

SOURCE: University of Illinois, news release, May 22, 2013

Reviewed Date: --

This content was reviewed by Mid-Atlantic Womens Care, PLC. Please visit their site to find an Mid-Atlantic Womens Care obstetrician.

Find a pediatrician
Helpful Information
Mid-Atlantic Womens's Care
Health Tips
Baby’s Emotional, Intellectual Development
Being There: Advice for Expectant Dads
Boost Your Teen Daughter’s Body Image
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Could Your Child Have a Drug Problem?
Depressed Kids Need Help
Do Parents Influence Their Kids’ Health Behaviors?
For Kids, Games Can Build Strong Minds
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
How to Talk About Drugs With Your Kids
Is It Time for Toilet Training?
Is Your Child Too Sick for Day Care or School?
Keeping Your Cool When Parenting Teens
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
Letting Kids Grow Up…At Their Own Pace
Making Rules for Children Reinforces Love
Making the Most of Family Moments
Making This School Year Your Child's Best Ever
New Parents...Sore Backs
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Paying for Attention: Abuse of Prescription ADHD Drugs Rising on College Campuses
Preparing Your Daughter for Changes
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Solving Battles at Mealtime
Sports and Music: Both Good for Kids
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking Sex with Your Teen
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
TV vs. Activity: Key Choice for Kids
We Can Head Off Teen Tragedies
Weight Room No Longer Off-Limits to Kids
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Children Say 'No' to New Foods
When to Call the Doctor for Childhood Illnesses
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Your Child's Imaginary Friend…What It Means
Your Child's Social and Emotional Development
Quizzes
Child Development Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
Adolescent Mental Health Overview
AIDS/HIV in Children
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Diphtheria in Children
Discipline
During an Asthma Attack
Ewing Sarcoma
Firearms
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Home Page - Adolescent Medicine
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Major Depression in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Normal Newborn Behaviors and Activities
Osteosarcoma in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 1 to 3 Months
The Growing Child: 10 to 12 Months
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: 4 to 6 Months
The Growing Child: 7 to 9 Months
The Growing Child: Newborn
The Growing Child: Preschool (4 to 5 Years)
The Growing Child: School-Age (6 to 12 Years)
The Heart
The Kidneys
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.