3 years ago

Depression and playfulness in fathers and young infants: A matched design comparison study

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 So far, evidence indicates that depressed fathers tend to be more withdrawn in their early interactions.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. Methods Fathers and their infants were assessed when the infants were 3 months old. Paternal depression was diagnosed using a structured psychiatric interview. Currently depressed (n = 19) and non-depressed (n = 19) fathers were individually matched on age and education. Fathers were filmed playing with their children. Four dimensions were coded for paternal playfulness during free-play: physicality, playful excitation, tactile stimulation and active engagement. Results Depressed fathers, compared to non-depressed fathers, engaged in fewer episodes of playful excitation (mean scores: 0.71 vs.2.53, p = 0.005), less gentle touch (mean time: 38.57 vs. 53.37, p = 0.015) and less active engagement (mean scores: 2.29 vs 3.24, p = 0.044). When controlling for infant fretfulness, the findings remained largely unchanged. Limitations The sample size was small and the sample was limited to mostly white, well-educated fathers. Conclusions 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.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0165032717314775

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.