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Paternal Psychological Distress and Child Problem Behavior from Early Childhood to Middle Adolescence

Flouri, E; Sarmadi, Z; Francesconi, M; (2019) Paternal Psychological Distress and Child Problem Behavior from Early Childhood to Middle Adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.06.041. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To explore if paternal psychological distress is related to the longitudinal course of child Problem behaviour after accounting for maternal psychological distress. METHOD: We used data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a large general-population birth cohort in the UK. Maternal and paternal psychological distress was measured with the Kessler 6-item psychological distress scale (K-6) at child ages 3, 5, 7, 11 and 14 years. Problem behaviour was measured with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire at these ages. Data were analyzed using growth curve modelling, before and after adjustment for confounders (N = 13,442). RESULTS: The effect of paternal psychological distress was weaker than that of maternal psychological distress. However, even after adjustment for maternal psychological distress and confounding, paternal psychological distress predicted all four domains of child Problem behaviour we examined (hyperactivity, conduct, emotional and peer problems). Child problem scores were generally lower in biological father families, but the effect of paternal psychological distress was the same for children in biological and non-biological father families, and did not depend on the level of maternal psychological distress. High levels of paternal psychological distress predicted some problems (emotional symptoms and hyperactivity) more strongly in boys than girls. CONCLUSION: There was evidence for a robust association between psychological distress in fathers and Problem behaviour in their offspring. Our findings suggest that the mental health of both fathers and mothers is important for the behaviour of their children.

Type: Article
Title: Paternal Psychological Distress and Child Problem Behavior from Early Childhood to Middle Adolescence
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2018.06.041
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2018.06.041
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Maternal depression, child Problem behavior, paternal depression
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10069114
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