Reviewing previous research, the team from Oxford University said too much emphasis had been placed on mothers’ mental health rather than fathers, as mothers are considered to provide the most childcare. However, with shifting roles within the family, fathers often now have more of an impact on their child’s upbringing.
The children of parents who are depressed after the birth are more likely to experience emotional or behavioural problems. A child is also ten times more likely to develop bipolar disorder if their parents suffer from it.
It’s also thought that boys are affected more by their father’s mental health than girls, particularly if the father suffers from alcohol addiction.
Professor Paul Ramchandani, who led the team re-analysing the research said: “Fathers are more involved in child-rearing in countries including the UK than they used to be. In years gone by, if fathers were depressed and distant it may not have made much of an impact. We now need a more general understanding of what effects psychiatric problems in fathers can have on children.”