New research by U.K. showed that the daughters of fathers who experience post-natal depression are more likely to suffer from depression during their teens.
A new study, conducted by researchers at Royal College London, University College London, Oxford University and the University of Bristol, looked at 3,176 families to examine the relationship between fathers depression in eight weeks after the birth of their children and their children's risk from depression at the age of 18 years.
The researchers also included factors such as maternal depression, involvement of parents in their child, conflict between parents and any behavioral problems in children, and hyperactivity at the age of 3.5 years.
The results published in JAMA Psychiatry showed that there was a "small but significant" increased risk of depression among girls at the age of 18 if their fathers had a depression after birth.
However, the sons did not have an increased risk of depression.
It is unclear why girls can be affected at this age of paternity postpartum depression, but researchers have suggested that depression in any parent can disrupt family life and cause higher levels of stress for the whole family, as well as affecting the way in which parents communicate with their children.
The specific aspects of the father-daughter relationship may explain why, as girls go through adolescence, they have a greater risk of depression if their fathers also suffer from depression.
Co-author Professor Paul Ramchandani said: "Research from this Bristol family study has already shown that fathers may feel depression in the postnatal period, as do mothers. What's new in this paper is that we were able to monitor young people from birth to the age of 18, when interviewed for their own depression experience. "
"We also could look at some of the ways in which fathers depression can affect children. It seems that fathers depression is associated with an increased level of stress among the entire family and that this may be one way in which the offspring can to be affected.
"While many children will not be affected by parental depression in this way, the findings of this study emphasize the importance of giving appropriate help to fathers, as well as to mothers who may experience depression."
The researchers also point out that almost one in twenty new fathers suffer from depression on Sundays after their birth.