Experiences from conception to age six have the most important influence of any time in the life

Role of Paternal Support

The Role of Paternal Support in the Behavioural Development of Children Exposed to Postpartum Depression


Nicole Letourneau, Linda Duffett-Leger, and Mahin Salmani


Fathers' ability and availability to provide social support to their depressed partners and thus promote their children's development and success may be influenced by their workforce participation, health, and years of education. This study of 626 children and their families examined the influence of fathers' characteristics on their children's behavioural development,when exposed to maternal postpartum depression, taking into account known covariates, including sex of the child, family structure, number of children in the household, annual income, and family functioning. For the behavioural outcomes of anxiety, hyperactivity, and aggression, fathers' workforce participation during the childrens' first 2 years of life significantly predicted their development over the next 10 years. Most notably, weekend work by fathers was a risk factor, particularly for boys. Thus fathers' characteristics related to their ability and availability to provide social support for their depressed partner appear to predict children's developmental success.

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