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Nord J Psychiatry. 2013 Dec;67(6):407-13. doi: 10.3109/08039488.2012.752034. Epub 2013 Jan 3.

Fathers' postnatal depressive and anxiety symptoms: an exploration of links with paternal, maternal, infant and family factors.

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Tampere University Hospital, Department of Child Psychiatry and University of Tampere, School of Medicine , Tampere , Finland.



Postnatal psychological symptoms have been studied less often in fathers than in mothers. However, recent research shows that fathers' psychopathology may have long-term effects on their children's emotional and behavioural development independently of maternal psychopathology. More research is needed on factors associated with paternal symptoms at the early stage of child development.


The aim of the study was to examine the paternal, maternal, infant and family factors associated with the occurrence of depressive and anxiety symptoms in fathers of infants.


As part of a study conducted in Tampere, Finland, on infants' social withdrawal symptoms, both parents of 4-, 8- and 18-month-old infants (n = 194) completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and general information questionnaires during routine check-ups of the infants in well-baby clinics. Parental depressive and anxiety symptoms were screened using the recommended cut-off points for this purpose (5/6 for fathers and 7/8 for mothers on the EPDS). The associations between the fathers' symptoms and paternal, maternal, infant and family factors were explored.


Twenty-one per cent of the fathers and 24% of the mothers scored above the cut-off points for depressive and anxiety symptoms on the EPDS. Both paternal and maternal factors predicted high paternal symptom level in regression models. Infant factors were not statistically significantly associated with paternal symptoms.


Father's psychological symptoms were associated with many facets of both parents' impaired well-being. The whole family system should be considered whenever there are concerns about either parent's psychological well-being.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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