Journal of Affective Disorders
Depression in fathers in the postnatal period is associated with an increased risk of some adverse child developmental outcomes. One possible mechanism for the familial transmission of risk is through the negative effects of depression on parenting and the parent-child relationship. So far, evidence indicates that depressed fathers tend to be more withdrawn in their early interactions. However, the interaction dimensions studied to date may not be able to detect and accurately classify unique features of father-infant play – including physically stimulating and highly rousing episodes of play. Hence, in this matched design comparison study, we set out to examine, for the first time, links between diagnosed paternal depression in the postnatal period and playfulness in father-infant interactions. Playful paternal behaviours as early as 3 months differ between fathers with and without depression. These changes may help in understanding children’s risk in relation to paternal psychopathology and could be a target for future family interventions. (Author abstract modified)
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