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Dads' depression impacts children's development: Australian study

(Xinhua)

11:13, December 07, 2011

SYDNEY, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Men with paternal depression can increase their children's risks of developing behavioral and social problems, according to an Australian study published on Wednesday in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The study of more than 2600 families found children whose fathers suffered depression when they were born were three times more likely to have behavioral, emotional and social problems at age of five than those without depressed fathers.

The study leader, Richard Fletcher from Newcastle University's Family Action Center of Australia, said the findings suggested doctors and other healthcare workers should check new dads for signs of depression so they could get treatment promptly.

"Generally, dads respond to treatment in a similar way to mums, but dads are less likely to get treatment," he said.

Postnatal depression is estimated to affect about one in seven Australian mums.

The study also found 1.3 percent of dads had paternal depression when their children were born, while 2.6 percent of mothers reported postnatal depression.

Fletcher said reasons why dads with depression impacted the development of their children were unclear.

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