Posted by: Ticktock | June 30, 2009

Sad SAHD Science

OK. I had a little fun with the title. It’s more about all dads than SAHDs like me, but this new study in the journal Pediatrics shows that depressed fathers are more likely to have colicky babies.

If my baby was colicky, I would be depressed too. But, I’m pretty sure that this study is talking about a dad’s happiness during pregnancy. It’s hard for me to wrap my brain around how the two are related, but the researchers found a correlation in the data that seems to be significant.

We already knew that there’s a correlation between colicky babies and sad mothers, but this new info now drags dads into the equation. I wonder what the data indicates when you exclude families where both parents are depressed. Would Dads still be a significant factor in the data?

I may have to follow up with the researchers on this study.



  1. As a SAHD who also happens to have depression and who’s son had colic I feel compelled to add my two cents.

    First, with regard to your question about the data when maternal depression is excluded, you already have your answer. The study clearly states that they adjusted for depression on the part of the mother; this means that this was statistically excluded from the conclusion. What I would like to see in this regard is an exclusion of those families where the mother was diagnosed with depression prior to getting involved with the father. In those cases, you know that you’ve removed those people whose depression could have been caused or exacerbated by the father’s depression. This would help to narrow the causal possibilities.

    Because “all” this study is able to show is a correlation, we have no idea regarding causality. The study mentions the various possibilities and certainly genetics is a big one. Interaction with the child is another top contender; I certainly worry about the impact of my depression on my son given that I’m the primary caregiver.

    As most of these studies conclude, more work needs to be done. In particular, a study that looks at how many hours each week the father is the primary caregiver would be extremely interesting, for example. This would certainly help to determines whether the link is genetic, or due to interaction with the infant (or something else).

    Most likely, it’s all of the above.

    My SAHD Life

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