Depression in a parent may lead to poor academic performance in kids, says study

Depression in a parent may lead to poor academic performance in kids, says study

Depression is a mental health problem in which an individual feels disheartened, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in general. When such feelings linger on for a brief period, it might be a case of the blues. However, when such feelings last for more than two weeks and when they start interfering with relationships, and other daily activities, like taking care of family and going to work or school, it may be a case of a major depressive episode.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), major depression is a treatable mental disorder that affects an individual’s thoughts, feelings, behavior and functioning. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. As per the NIMH, in 2015, approximately 16.1 million adults (6.7 percent), aged 18 years or older, in the U.S. experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year. At any given time, 3-5 percent adults are afflicted with major depression, two out of 100 young children and eight of 100 adolescents may develop a serious case of depression.

Depression in parents

When parents suffer from depression, the effects can be seen on children as well. According to a new study, such children may develop behavioral problems coupled with anxiousness and cheerlessness with adverse consequences on their development and health. The Swedish study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry in February 2017, found that the grades of a child might decline when one of the parents are suffering from depression. The study used the data from 1984 to 1994 and measured the school grades of over 1.1 million children, and compared them with their parents’ mental health status.

Some of the findings of the study were:

  • At the age of 16, children of mothers who suffered from depression scored about 4.5 percent lower in their school grades compared to children of mothers who were not depressed.
  • At the age of 16, children with fathers suffering from depression scored about 4 percent lower compared to the children with fathers without depression.

For parents, coping with depression and nurturing their children can be overwhelming and an arduous task. Even a drop of 4 or 4.5 percent points in grades matters a lot as it can play an important role in deciding whether the child would stay in school or quit.

A related study, called “Health Policy Snapshot: Public Health and Prevention,” published in 2013, showed that better-educated individuals were less likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or become obese compared to those who did not finish high school or college. These individuals also tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.

However, another study “Remission in maternal depression and child psychopathology,” published in the JAMA in 2006, showed mothers who got treated and recovered from depression, also saw their children getting better. Even if one were to inherit a disposition to depression, early diagnosis, psychotherapy or medications or a combination of these two can be effective for depression. These women were able to reignite their interests and love toward their children.

Path to recovery

If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, it is important to seek help. The Texas Depression Treatment Help offers the best evidence-based plans and a holistic approach to treatment. Call at our 24/7 helpline 866-827-0282 to connect with the best depression treatment in Texas. You can also chat with our medical representatives to get information about various depression treatment centers in Texas. One should not delay the treatment or things can get out of hand.