TitlePaternal Depression and Infant Cognitive Development
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWanless, SB, Rosenkoetter, SE, McClelland, MM
JournalInfants & Young Children
Pagination134 - 141
Date Published2008

Although the negative impact of maternal depression on infants' affective and cognitive development is well-documented, the contribution of paternal depression is often overlooked in the research literature and in early intervention practices. This review examines research on the link between paternal depression and infant cognitive outcomes. Although some disagreement exists, studies indicate that paternal depression limits father involvement, which, in turn, influences cognitive development. These findings have implications for research and early intervention programming that address fathers and young children. Further research on paternal depression is needed to understand how paternal depression specifically influences infant cognitive development and to clarify its implications for early intervention. The authors discuss ways that programs, including Early Head Start, have begun to address this issue, by intervening with fathers and children, building partnerships with mental health service agencies, and increasing staff members' abilities to identify and support parents who are experiencing depression. Finally, discussion focuses on directions for future research and ways to support fathers who struggle with depression.