Parenthood may be wonderful and rewarding, but it’s also depressing, and the depression stays around even after the kids leave.
Parents have significantly higher levels of depression than adults who don’t have children, says a study by Florida State and Vanderbilt University researchers. And empty-nesters are no less depressed–worried, no doubt, about their older children. Unlike other major adult roles that are affected by outside factors like being married or employed, the depression that comes from being a parent seems to affect everyone, although some have more than others (parents who are married do have fewer symptoms than those who are single). Researchers were shocked to find that the effects of parenthood on depression were the same for men and women. Says Florida professor Robin Simon, “It’s how we do parenting in this society. We do it in a very isolated way. Our successes are our own, but so are our failures. It’s emotionally draining.”
# 21014 Press release, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, 2-7-06
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