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Fathers influence newborns

By Jeremy Laurance

The level of engagement fathers have with their children in the first months of life may influence the development of behavioural problems later.

Fathers who were more involved early on had children with fewer problems at 12 months, while those who were remote had children who were less stable and more disturbed.

It is the first time the origin of behavioural problems has been traced to such an early age — before three months — and suggests early intervention could prevent later difficulties.

The findings were based on a study of 192 families in the UK. The results are published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

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