ages, supported child effects on parental depression. For example, higher levels of aggressive behavior in 5-year-old boys predicted higher levels of maternal depression when the boys were 6 years old (Gross, Shaw, and Moilanen, 2008). These researchers also found that child noncompliance was more strongly associated with depression in mothers than in fathers (Gross et al., 2008).

Across multiple studies, depression in mothers has been found to be more strongly associated with internalizing and externalizing problems in children relative to depression in fathers, as revealed in a meta-analysis (Connell and Goodman, 2002). Nonetheless, depression in fathers is of concern. For example, in a large cohort study, depression in fathers during the postnatal period predicted a greater likelihood of preschool-age boys and girls having emotional and behavioral problems and boys having conduct problems (Ramchandani et al., 2005). These findings were maintained even after accounting for postnatal depression in the mothers and later depression in the fathers. A more recent study found that the problems in the children persist until age 7 (Ramchandani et al., 2008). Another study found different patterns of association with mothers’ relative to fathers’ depression among young adults (age 24) who had experienced major depressive disorder by age 19 (Rohde et al., 2005). Major depression in fathers was associated with both sons’ and daughters’ lower psychosocial functioning, whereas for depression in mothers that association was specific to sons. Sons of depressed fathers also had higher levels of suicidal ideation and higher rates of attempts, whereas that association with depression in mothers was not significant. And recurrent depression in fathers but not mothers was associated with depression recurrence in daughters, but not sons. These studies suggest direct and specific associations between depression in fathers and the development of psychological problems in their children.

In order to further examine the relationship of paternal depression to psychopathology in the child, the committee undertook an independent analysis of public use data from the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (NCS-R)1 study. The NCS-R offered the opportunity to analyze a data set generalizable to the population in the United States in which the elements of a comprehensive theoretical framework consistent with the goals of our committee could be examined. We conducted our analysis separately among 759 male and 1,035 female respondents, ages 18–35 at the time of the NCS-R interview. The respondents’ reported recall indicated that primary independent risk factors for self-reported major depressive disorder diagnosis (defined by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition) within the past 12 months were recalling


Tabulations based on the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication (see

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