You are viewing the content for Thursday 9 February 2006

If the kids get you down, you’re not alone

By Rachel Williams, New York
HAVING children makes you miserable and depressed, according to a new American study.

The study found that parents have significantly higher levels of depression than adults who do not have children.

And the symptoms do not go away when the youngsters grow up and move out, the team said.

Professor Robin Simon, from Florida State University, and Vanderbilt University’s Ranae Evenson found that "empty nest parents" were no less depressed than childless adults.

They believe that was because parents continued to be involved in their adult children’s lives - and continued to worry about them.

"Parents have more to worry about than other people do - that’s the bottom line," Prof Simon said.

"And that worry does not diminish over time. Parents worry about their kids’ emotional, social, physical and economic wellbeing. We worry about how they’re getting along in the world."

The researchers analysed data from the National Survey of Families and Households for the study, published in the American Sociological Association’s Journal of Health and Social Behaviour.

Certain types of parents - including those with adult children, whether they live at home or not, and those who do not have custody of their minor children - were found to be more depressed than others.

But researchers said they were shocked to find the effects of parenthood on depression were the same for men and women, contradicting the assumption that parenthood hits the emotional wellbeing of women more.