Nav: Home

Researchers investigate mental health of teens after dad leaves

December 15, 2015

Family breakdown and the insecure financial situation that may result is more likely to cause worry, anxiety and depressive symptoms in adolescents who are separated from their father, says Professor Jennifer O'Loughlin of the University of Montreal. However, these symptoms can disappear in the nine-month period following the separation. O'Loughlin came to these conclusions after conducting a study that was recently published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

During a five-year period, O'Loughlin and her team of researchers followed 1,160 French-speaking and English-speaking students who, at the beginning of the study initiated in 2002, were 12 and 13 years old and living with both parents.

At each year of high school, they answered a questionnaire every three months measuring indicators of mental health, including depressive symptoms, worry, and stress about family relationships, and the family situation.

Compared with adolescents living with both parents, adolescents separated from their fathers were more likely to report depressive symptoms four to six months post-separation, as well as worry or stress about their parents separating or divorcing, a new family, the family financial situation, and their relationship with their father.

At seven to nine months post-separation, separation from their father continued to be associated with worry or stress, but not with depression or their relationship with their father; however, separation was associated with worry or stress about their relationship with their mother. "This relational change may be attributed to the fact that the mother must often play a new role in terms of greater monitoring and discipline, which can cause tension between her and her children," said O'Loughlin.

Another hypothesis suggested by the professor is that the adolescents feel greater anxiety regarding the additional challenge their mother must face by taking on greater family responsibilities.

In addition, the use of alcohol or cigarettes among the adolescents was not related to separation from their father in the short term, contrary to what a study conducted 30 years ago concluded. "It is possible that these substances are perceived negatively by the adolescents and that they avoid using them, especially if substance abuse by their father was the source of marital discord," said O'Loughlin.

The authors of the study write that "separated parents and their adolescents can be reassured by the results of the study, which show that depression symptoms are usually transient following separation." Nevertheless, they call for greater vigilance among all those in direct contact with young adults whose parents have recently separated - families, teachers, trainers, friends, and family physicians ."They may need informal support or therapy to prevent further progression of depressive symptoms and the development of more serious mental health problems," O'Loughlin concluded.
-end-


University of Montreal

Related Depression Articles:

Tackling depression by changing the way you think
A thought is a thought. It does not reflect reality.
How depression can muddle thinking
Depression is associated with sadness, fatigue and a lack of motivation.
Neuroimaging categorizes 4 depression subtypes
Patients with depression can be categorized into four unique subtypes defined by distinct patterns of abnormal connectivity in the brain, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine.
Studies suggest inflammatory cytokines are associated with depression and psychosis, and that anti-cytokine treatment can reduce depression symptoms
Studies presented at this year's International Early Psychosis Association meeting in Milan, Italy, (Oct.
Is depression in parents, grandparents linked to grandchildren's depression?
Having both parents and grandparents with major depressive disorder was associated with higher risk of MDD for grandchildren, which could help identify those who may benefit from early intervention, according to a study published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
Postpartum depression least severe form of depression in mothers
Postpartum depression -- a household term since actress Brooke Shields went public in 2005 about her struggle with it -- is indeed serious.
Tropical Depression 1E dissipates
Tropical Depression 1E or TD1E didn't get far from the time it was born to the time it weakened to a remnant low pressure area along the southwestern coast of Mexico.
Diagnosing depression before it starts
MIT researchers have found that brain scans may identify children who are vulnerable to depression, before symptoms appear.
Men actually recommend getting help for depression
Participants in a national survey read a scenario describing someone who had depressed symptoms.
Depression too often reduced to a checklist of symptoms
How can you tell if someone is depressed? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) -- the 'bible' of psychiatry -- diagnoses depression when patients tick off a certain number of symptoms on the DSM checklist.

Related Depression Reading:

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
by David D. Burns (Author)

The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs
by Stephen S. Ilardi (Author)

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (Book & CD)
by Mark Williams (Author), John Teasdale (Author), Zindel Segal (Author), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Author)

The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time
by Alex Korb PhD (Author), Daniel J. Siegel MD (Foreword)

Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression (Volume 2)
by Robert Duff Ph.D. (Author)

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions
by Johann Hari (Author)

The 10-Step Depression Relief Workbook: A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approach
by Simon Rego PsyD (Author), Sarah Fader (Author)

How to Be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad): A Creative Workbook
by Lee Crutchley (Author), Oliver Burkeman (Foreword)

Rainbows, the coolest book about beating depression
by Buddy Valentine (Author)

You Can Do All Things: Drawings, Affirmations and Mindfulness to Help With Anxiety and Depression
by Kate Allan (Author), Margarita Tartakovsky (Foreword)

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#513 Dinosaur Tails
This week: dinosaurs! We're discussing dinosaur tails, bipedalism, paleontology public outreach, dinosaur MOOCs, and other neat dinosaur related things with Dr. Scott Persons from the University of Alberta, who is also the author of the book "Dinosaurs of the Alberta Badlands".