A new trend is emerging in pediatric mental health research that takes the father as its point of departure. Studies about how mothers’ health impacts their unborn children are everywhere, and have been for decades. But studies concerning how fathers’ wellbeing influences their children are still few and far between.
This recent study from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study illustrates how depression in fathers can cause behavioral problems in their children. This influence can establish itself even before the baby is born, according to the study. And once a child has been brought into the world, a father’s mental health (or lack thereof) can definitely impact his child.
The Norwegian study comes swiftly on the heels of other father-centric reports. One recent study, for instance, links older fathers to autism and schizophrenia in their children. And while these conclusions may not seem groundbreaking (of course parents’ health influences their children’s, duh), the shift in focus from mother to father is interesting and long overdue.
By including fathers’ influence on their children as well as mothers’, researchers can get a much more well-rounded idea of pediatric health, and ways to advance the field of prenatal care.
So, in the spirit of co-parenting, you should probably check out our post about dudes simulating labor pains. For science.