Le rôle du père dans la santé mentale de l'enfant : une approche développementale et multidimensionnelle


Célia Matte-Gagné

Université Laval


Domaine : santé de la mère, des enfants et des adolescents

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 1

Concours 2018-2019

The important role of the early family environment in children's mental health is well documented. Despite considerable progress in this research field, much work remains to be done to fully understand the familial influences on child mental health. Notably, past research focused on mothers, whereas today's fathers are increasingly involved with their children. As outlined in the Government of Quebec's recent action plan for the health and well-being of men (2017), measures must be taken within our society to further support fathers' involvement with their children. Addressing this issue requires a better understanding of the reality of the fathers and the difficulties they face, but also the specific role they play in the development of their children. Using a longitudinal and prospective design, this research program is designed to study the quality of paternal behaviors as a determinant of the child's mental health.

Mental health is measured using different indicators and evaluated four times between the ages of six months and four years within a cohort of children living in Quebec City. The first part of the program aims to identify personal (mental health and stress), environmental (conjugal and social support) and child-specific (gender and temperament) factors that predict paternal behaviors during early childhood. The second part of the program examines the effects of paternal behaviors on various indicators of children's mental health: general verbal and cognitive skills, attachment security, executive functions, behavioral disorders, anxiety and depression.

By contributing to the understanding of the early determinants of mental health, the results of this program will ultimately improve the detection and prevention of mental disorders and support the development of intervention programs and policies to promote mental health of young people.