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J Affect Disord. 2019 Apr 15;249:371-377. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.02.033. Epub 2019 Feb 11.

A prospective study of postnatal depressive symptoms and associated risk factors in first-time fathers.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine, McGill University, Canada; Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre - Research Institute, Canada. Electronic address: deborah.dacosta@mcgill.ca.
2
Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Canada.
3
Department of Medicine, McGill University, Canada; Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre - Research Institute, Canada.
4
Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre - Research Institute, Canada.
5
Lady Davis Institute, Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent studies show that paternal depression negatively impacts children's behavioral and emotional development. This study determined the prevalence of depressed mood in first-time fathers at 2 and 6 months postpartum and identified associated risk factors.

METHODS:

A prospective cohort study with 622 men who completed sociodemographic and psychosocial questionnaires during their partner's third trimester of pregnancy. Fathers completed measures again at 2 and 6 months postpartum and partners completed the depressed mood measure at all three timepoints. A cutoff of ≥10 for the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale identified depressed mood status.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of depressive symptoms in fathers was 13.76% at 2 months and 13.60% at 6 months postpartum. Men who were depressed during their partner's pregnancy were 7 times more likely to be depressed at 2 months postpartum. Depressed mood status at both the antenatal and 2 month postpartum assessment was associated with increased risk of depressed mood at 6 months postpartum. Older age, poor sleep quality at study entry, worse couple adjustment, having a partner experiencing antenatal depressive symptoms and elevated parental stress were associated with depressive symptoms at 2 months postpartum. Poor sleep quality, financial stress and a decline in couple adjustment were independently associated to depressive symptoms at 6 months postpartum.

LIMITATIONS:

This sample was fairly well-educated and predominately middle-class. Depressive symptoms were assessed using a self-report questionnaire.

CONCLUSIONS:

The psychosocial risk factors identified provide opportunities for early screening and targeted prevention strategies for fathers at risk for depression during the transition to parenthood.

KEYWORDS:

Postnatal paternal depression; Prevalence; Risk factors

PMID:
30818245
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2019.02.033

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