by Dr. Meenakshy Varier on  February 15, 2017 at 11:00 PM Health Watch
Highlights
  • Study of expectant and new fathers show that they tend to experience elevated symptoms of depression when their partners were pregnant and nine months after the birth of their child.
  • Stress and poor health led to depressive symptoms among men who had pregnant partners.
  • Among new fathers, being unemployed, no longer being in a relationship with the mother and having a history of depression, led to depressive symptoms.

Men With Pregnant Partners Likely to Experience Depression
Men who were stressed or in poor health are more likely to have elevated symptoms of depression when their partners were pregnant and nine months after the birth of their child.

The findings are according to a study of expectant and new fathers in New Zealand by Lisa Underwood, Ph.D., of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and coauthors.

Study

The researchers interviewed 3,523 men while their partners were in the third trimester of pregnancy for symptoms of antenatal depression (ADS, before birth) and nine months after the birth of their child for the symptoms of postnatal depression (PDS, after birth).


The men were an average age of 33 years at the antenatal interview.

The results show that 2.3% of fathers (82 men) were affected by elevated ADS during their partner's pregnancy and 4.3% of fathers (153 men) were affected by elevated PDS nine months after the child was born.

During a partner's pregnancy, elevated depressive symptoms in fathers were associated with :
  • perceived stress
  • having fair to poor health
After a child's birth, elevated depression symptoms in fathers were associated with :
  • perceived stress in pregnancy
  • no longer being in a relationship with the mother
  • having fair to poor health
  • being unemployed
  • having a history of depression
Inability to generalize the findings to the first and second trimesters of pregnancy or to the period immediately following the child's birth is a major limitation of the study.

"Only relatively recently has the influence of fathers on children been recognized as vital for adaptive psychosocial and cognitive development. Given that paternal depression can have direct or indirect effects on children, it is important to recognize and treat symptoms among fathers early and the first step in doing that is arguably increasing awareness among fathers about increased risks," the article concludes.

The study is published online by JAMA Psychiatry.

Reference

  1. Lisa Underwood et al.JAMA Psychiatry; (2017)


Source: Medindia

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