Study shows that adolescent mental health impacts on future parenthood, and that becoming a parent impacts on mental health during adulthood.
A study conducted by Swedish researchers has reported on the effects mental health have on future parenthood, in addition to the subsequent mental health after becoming a parent.
The research study used data from the Northern Swedish Cohort, which allowed researchers to follow a single cohort of boys and girls from 16 years of age through 43 years of age. Mental health status is available on this cohort at five different time-points, allowing the researchers to address the research questions related to mental health and parenthood over a long period of time.
The researchers reported that men who had reported mental health issues at 16 years old were less likely to become fathers when compared with men who did not report mental health issues at 16 years of age. This result, however, was not true of women. The researchers report that mental health issues in 16 year old girls did not affect whether or not women would have children.
The researchers also addressed a second question, whether or not becoming a parent affects mental health during adulthood. They reported a general ‘better’ mental health in fathers than in mothers. That is, mental health issues decrease in women who become mothers. This effect was not seen for men who became fathers.
Kalucza, S, Hammarström, Nilsson, K. “Mental health and parenthood – A longitudinal study of the relationship between self-reported mental health and parenthood” Health Sociology Review Published online: 10 Jul 2015. DOI:10.1080/14461242.2015.1051079
Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD