Study Finds that New Dads Suffer From Postpartum Depression Almost as Much as New Moms

posted: 08/01/18
by: Amanda Mushro
Man carrying his sleeping son. Newborn baby boy in his father's arms.


While new moms continue to change the conversation when it comes to postpartum depression by speaking up, talking to their doctors, and making sure they get the help they need, research is now showing that new dads need to be screened for depression just as much as new moms.

According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers examined more than 9,500 pediatric community health center visits by parents of newborns, infants and toddlers. What they found was 5 percent of mothers screened positive for postpartum depression, and when it came to dads, they were roughly equal with 4.4 percent of fathers testing positive when screened for depression.

Since most of the visits to the health center were by moms, many dads were never screened. Researchers believe if there were two parents present, the study may have missed even more depressed dads who are suffering and may not realize there is help for them.

While recent studies have shown that more fathers suffer from postnatal depression than expected, this is the first study that shows men are suffering at the same rate as their female partners. While doctors are often looking for signs of depression in new moms such as "baby blues" not going away, trouble connecting with their infant, or having overwhelming feelings of anxiety and sadness, current society norms make it less likely that a man would share he too is feeling these symptoms. Because of the stigma that surrounds mental health, moms and dads are not getting help when they need it most.

The American Psychological Association reports that one in seven new mothers will suffer from postpartum depression, and if new dads are suffering at close to the same rate, hopefully studies like this will shed light on the importance of mental health, self-care, and getting help for new moms and dads.