Research has demonstrated similarities and correlations in depression after the birth of a child between men and women (1). Adjusting to his parenting role along with the increased load of neonatal care, can affect a man’s ability to help his partner and build trust in the infant, for example, depressed fathers interact less with their children (2). Father’s depression and anxiety can also contribute to maternal stress and to maternal mental health disorders.
In addition, dad’s depression during the postpartum period has been associated with subsequent mental health disorders amongst children regardless of maternal depression, mainly oppositional defiant/conduct disorder in children aged 3.5-7yrs (3)(4). Living with a family member who suffers from a mental disorder the impact on relationships, work, in education and social life, is very important. This vicious cycle of interactions warrants a need for comprehensive support of family members.
- Deater-Deckard, K. (1998). Parenting stress and child adjustment: Some old hypotheses and new questions, Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 5 (3), 314-332
- Paulson, J.F., Dauber, S. & Leiferman, J.A. (2006). Individual and combined effects of postpartum depression on parenting behavior in mothers and fathers. Pediatrics. 118:659–668. [PubMed]
- Ramchandani, P. & Psychogiou, L. (2009). Paternal psychiatric disorders and children’s psychosocial development. Lancet. 2009 Aug 22;374(9690):646-53. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)60238-5. Epub 2009 May 4.