HealthDay News — Expectant and new fathers who are in poor health or have high levels of stress are at increased risk for depression, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry.
The research involved 3523 men, average age 33, who were interviewed while their partner was in the third trimester of her pregnancy. The men were then re-interviewed nine months after the birth of their child.
Elevated depression symptoms were reported by 2.3 percent of the men during their partner’s pregnancy and by 4.3 percent of the men nine months after their child was born. Men who felt stressed or who were in relatively poor physical health were more prone to elevated depression symptoms, the researchers found.
After a child’s birth, depression symptoms in fathers were associated with being stressed during the pregnancy, and being in poor health or having a prior history of depression. Other, social, or relationship factors — no longer being in a relationship with the mother and/or being unemployed — also increased the odds for being depressed after the birth of a child.
“Identifying fathers most at risk of depressive symptoms and when best to target interventions (antenatal or postnatal) may be beneficial to men and their families,” the authors write.
Underwood L, Waldie KE, Peterson E, et al. Paternal Depression Symptoms During Pregnancy and After Childbirth Among Participants in the Growing Up in New Zealand Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017; doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.4234. [Epub ahead of print]