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posted: 7/13/2011 4:00 AM

Depression in dads affects parenting

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Depressed dads spank their children more often and read to them less often than their non-depressed counterparts.

That comes from a study published in April by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Other parenting behaviors, such as playing games, singing and talking to their child, are done just as often by depressed and the non-depressed dads, suggesting those activities may be more routine for fathers.

The study looked at more than 1,700 fathers of 1-year-old children, finding about 7 percent of them had depression.

Those fathers were four times more liking to report spanking their child.

Since 77 percent of the depressed fathers reported talking to their child's pediatrician in the past year, pediatricians have the opportunity to discuss parenting behaviors and refer depressed fathers for appropriate treatment.