Young dads at risk for postpartum depression

Young dads at risk for postpartum depression

Like young moms, young fathers may be at an increased risk of depression in the first few years of their child’s life, according to one new study.

The research, published this week in the journal Pediatrics, found that men who become fathers in their mid-20s experienced a 68 percent increase of depressive symptoms over the first five years of their child’s life. The researchers analyzed the data of more than 10,600 young men from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a long-term study of teens that began in the 1990s.

The researchers stressed that the findings don’t show that fatherhood caused depression in the young men, only that there was an association. The researchers did note, however, that this finding was in men who lived in the same home as their child.

“Identifying at-risk fathers based on social factors and designing effective interventions may ultimately improve health outcomes for the entire family,” the researchers report of their findings.

According to Dr. Shastri Swaminathan, psychiatrist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago, depression in young fathers differs from postpartum depression in young mothers.

“I suspect men’s reports of depression, especially at such an early age, may result from financial stress and the huge change a child has to their lives. This certainly would require more study,” Dr. Swaminathan says.

Dr. Swaminathan pointed out that additional study would be needed to determine if depressive symptoms affect men who father children later in life.

“However, I think this study definitely shows a need for attention to a young father’s mental health,” he says. “I’m glad it’s starting to raise awareness. We need to let fathers know it’s OK to look for help.”

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  1. Lynn Hutley

    A mother’s attention is so focused on her baby that I’m sure that shift away from the marriage/relationship is difficult for the father.

  2. Lisa Parro

    Nothing can prepare you for how stressful it is to have a new baby at home. Moms and dads alike are taxed emotionally, physically, mentally.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.