A new study carried out by researchers from Canada explained that children are at risk of developing risky behavior when they become teenagers if they have mothers who are suffering from depression, Reuters reported.
According to researchers, mothers' maternal depression may affect kids and cause them to adopt unhealthy habits such as drinking alcohol and smoking as they get older. The research team was led by Ian Colman from Ontario's University of Ottowa.
Their report, titled "Maternal Depressive Symptoms During Childhood and Risky Adolescent Health Behaviors," was published by Pediatrics, an online monthly journal that focuses on studies about a child's developmental stages.
For the study, the researchers used the information collected by Canada's National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth on about 3,000 children. The survey started in 1994 when the participants were only five years old and ended in 2009. The mothers of the children were also surveyed during the study.
Every two years after the start of the study, the mothers were asked about their mental and physical conditions and those of their families.
During the fifth year of the study, when the children reached the age of 10, they were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their personality and behavior.
When the study ended, the researchers reviewed the questionnaires and discovered a correlation between maternal depression experienced by mothers and the risky behavior of their teenage offspring.
They noted that children who had mothers suffering from depression are more prone to adopt bad behavior as they enter their teenage years.
"Adolescents exposed to maternal depressive symptoms during middle childhood were more likely to use common substances (alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana), engage in violent and non-violent delinquent behavior, and have an earlier debut ages of cigarette, alcohol, marijuana and hallucinogen use," the researchers wrote in the study.
Coleman and his team explained that the middle childhood stage is a time in children's lives where they develop cognitively, emotionally and socially, CBS News reported. This means their personality and behavior can be easily influenced by external factors during this period.
When exposed to negative parenting techniques caused by depression at this stage, children may begin to develop risky behavioral tendencies.