Depressed dads more likely to spank babies By Christine M. Porre

April 6, 2011 - 0:0

A new study published online in the journal Pediatrics reveals that among 1,746 fathers who were surveyed, those who had experienced depression were almost four times more likely to have spanked their one-year-olds than the dads who weren’t depressed.

It seems that common symptoms of depression -- irritability and anger -- may play a part. But it’s not all bad news: These depressed dads were also just as likely as non-depressed dads to play games, sing songs or say nursery rhymes to their babies.
While it’s easy to peg the depressed dads who spanked their babies as villains, they actually need guidance more than scorn. Most of the depressed dads even had contact with their child’s doctor, so the study’s authors point out that well-child visits could be a good opportunity for pediatricians to talk to depressed dads about how they’re parenting.
Major depression, which prevents a person from functioning normally (a combination of not being able to work, sleep, study, eat and have fun), is common -- 15.6 million American kids live with an adult who has it. Given the risks of injury and the negative developmental effects that spanking could have on babies, don’t hesitate to seek help now if you’re a dad or mom who’s experiencing depression.