01 Nov 2023
Do mild depressive and anxiety symptoms in fathers predict behavioral and cognitive problems in their children?
by Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: Shutterstock.com Many people experience stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in their life. Times of transition, such as pregnancy and children starting school can be significant periods of stress and vulnerability within families. Studies have generally found that high levels of anxiety and depression in parents are linked to poorer behavioral and cognitive outcomes in children. Now, a team of researchers in Canada has examined if self-reported paternal anxious and depressive symptoms are associated with children’s cognitive functioning and behavior. They found that slightly higher, but mild anxious or depressive symptoms in fathers were associated with fewer behavioral difficulties in the first years of elementary school and better scores on a standardized IQ testing in their children. The results need to be confirmed by further studies, the researchers said. While the role of mothers’ stress, anxiety and depression on children’s behavioral and cognitive development is well established, less is known about the connection between fathers’ mental health and children’s development. Now, a team of researchers affiliated to different institutions across Quebec, Canada has examined if paternal anxious and depressive symptoms, measured during their partner’s pregnancy, and again six to eight years later, are associated […]