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