Does paternal mental health in pregnancy predict physically aggressive behavior in children?
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The aim was to study the association between paternal mental health and physically aggressive behavior in children. This study is based on 19,580 father–child dyads from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Fathers’ mental health was assessed by self-report (Symptom Checklist-5, SCL-5) in week 17 or 18 of gestation. Children’s behavior (hitting others) was obtained by mothers’ reports. A multinomial logistic regression model was performed. Expectant fathers’ high level of psychological distress was found to be a significant risk factor only for girls hitting, adjusted OR = 1.46 (1.01–2.12), p = 0.043, but not for boys. High levels of mental distress in fathers predict their daughters’ hitting at 5 years of age.