Parental depression affects child’s performance at school

New York: Depression diagnoses in parents at any time during the child’s first 16 years are determined to have negative impact on the child’s school performance, warns a new study conducted in Sweden.

There were gender differences in the study’s numbers, but it didn’t want to lose focus of the problem parental depression presents as a whole, said researcher Brian Lee from the Dornsife School of Public Health in the US

“Our study — as well as many others — supports that both maternal and paternal depression may independently and negatively influence child development,” Lee added.

For the research, it was cohort study of more than a million children born from 1984 until 1994 in Sweden.

Using computerised data registers, the scientists linked parents’ depression diagnoses with their children’s final grades at age 16.

The research indicated that children whose mothers had been diagnosed with depression are likely to achieve grades that are 4.5 percent points lower than peers whose mothers had not been diagnosed with depression.

For children whose fathers were diagnosed with depression, the difference is a negative four percentage points.

“Anything that creates an uneven playing field for children in terms of their education can potentially have strong implications for health inequities down the road,” said another researcher Félice Lê-Scherban from the Dornsife School of Public Health in the US.

Although, results were largely similar for maternal and paternal depression, the analysis found that episodes of depression in mothers when their children were 11-16 years old appeared to have a larger effect on girls than boys.

“There are many notable sex differences in depression, but, rather than comparing maternal versus paternal depression, we should recognize that parental depression can have adverse consequences not just for the parents but also for their children,” Lee said.