January 15, 2006


Having children 'is bad for your mental health' (Roya Nikkhah, 15/01/2006, Daily Telegraph)

If you thought that the joys of watching your young ones grow up was one of life's simple pleasures, think again. Parenthood is actually bad for your mental health, according to the latest research.

George Clooney, the actor who famously vowed never to have children, seems destined to live a happier life than many of his Hollywood peers, according to a new report which found that parents suffer greater depression than people without children.

The study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, surveyed 13,017 adults who were asked how many times in the past week they had experienced symptoms of depression.

Questions included how often "you felt lonely", "you felt depressed", "you felt fearful", and "you had trouble keeping your mind on what you were doing".

The results, which found parents experience "significantly higher levels of depression than non-parents", will please the likes of Clooney, who once bet his friends £10,000 he would remain childless because "it is such a great responsibility..."

As Europe and Blue America are demonstrating, with no responsibility comes no power.

Perhaps if George Clooney had someone to be responsible for he wouldn't be this self-absorbed, Clooney: I ruined Kerry's presidential race (Ireland Online, 1/14/06)

George Clooney is convinced he ruined John Kerry's chances in the race for US president in 2004 - by snubbing an invitation and hurting his feelings.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 15, 2006 8:46 AM

""you felt fearful", and "you had trouble keeping your mind on what you were doing""

Those would be regular occurrences for even the happiest, most mentally healthy parents.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at January 15, 2006 9:28 AM

Citing George Clooney as an avitar of mental health and happiness in the film community pretty much kills the argument two paragraphs into the story, doesn't it?

Posted by: John at January 15, 2006 9:29 AM

"George Clooney, the actor who famously vowed never to have children,"

Too bad you don't believe in natural selection, OJ.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 15, 2006 9:39 AM

This study strikes me as a money pit for some academics to get more grant money.

They asked how many felt depression. Did they also ask how many felt joy, pride in their children, pleasure in their grandchildren? I would think that depression as they defined it is a natural part of parenthood when your children do not meet all your expectations but I would also think that the feeling you get when they far exceed your expectation or the feeling when they let you know how much they appreciate you and all they do would trump that in a heartbeat.

I would also bet that as people go from parenthood to grandparenthood the depressions decrease and the joys increase as you can enjoy the euphorias and not have to deal with the depressing parts.

I am beginning to think that academics will come up with any kind of bulls@@t they can to justify someone giving them money to prove their bulls@@t and think they are proving just how good they are. In this they remind me of Little Jack Horner. This study seems to be showing that. I wonder how they equate their results with the other studies that show famiy men live longer than single men and are far less likely to commit suicide. That would seem to trump their depression right out of court.

Posted by: dick at January 15, 2006 9:50 AM

i don't know about depression but kids are hell on the old hairline. the funny thing is clooney has been bitching about what a terrible year he has been having, and all it took to cause that is for his pooch to lose in a battle with a snake (george the hero!) and for his equally dim witted dad to lose the election for dog catcher, back in hazzard county.

Posted by: toe at January 15, 2006 12:32 PM

Can be totally explained by the fact that those with kids get less sleep which can lead to depressionlike symptoms. That's different than actually being depressed, by the way.

Posted by: Bret at January 15, 2006 1:25 PM

"George Clooney is convinced he ruined John Kerry's chances in the race for US president in 2004 - by snubbing an invitation and hurting his feelings."

Wow. Never mind Bush's immense popularity with everyday folks--or the Swift Vets, Kerry's radical chic Winter Soldier past, his inconsequential but ultra-liberal Senate record, and his own dull Brahmin personality. George friggin' Clooney is convinced that it's all his fault that Kerry lost!

Now that's hubris.

Posted by: Ed Driscoll at January 15, 2006 2:41 PM

"George Clooney is convinced he ruined John Kerry's chances"

I take back all the mean things I said about him.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at January 15, 2006 2:48 PM

When my dad and aunt were young kids, she caught him one day in his room praying and asked what he was praying for. He told her he wanted a younger brother. My aunt went off and told this news to my grandparents, who had already decided not to have any more kids (or so is my understanding, anyway). The two of them spoke to my dad and asked him if he was really serious about having a younger brother, and he said yes. Not long afterwards, my grandmother became pregnant with my Uncle Terry.

Now, the financial situation was tight and I'm sure my grandparents were worried about whether they could afford another child. But, in the end, it all worked out just fine -- just like it usually does.

No normal person ever reaches their deathbed, looks back on their life, and says that having this son or that daughter was a mistake.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 16, 2006 2:49 AM