Dads can develop postpartum depression
Fri 24 Jun 2005 01:21 am CSTAUSTIN (myDNA News)
Postnatal depression can affect fathers, too. In fact, the long-term behavioral and emotional development of their child may be effected by postnatal depression.
Doctors at Bristol and Oxford University analyzed records of 8,430 fathers for signs of paternal depression and were surprised at the findings. The analysis showed that eight weeks after the birth of their child, 3.6 percent (303) of fathers appeared to be suffering from depression, with symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, irritability and feeling hopeless.
Dr. Paul Ramchandani, Oxford psychiatrist, said "We already know the postnatal depression in mothers can affect the quality of maternal care, and is associated with disturbances in children's later social, behavioral, psychological and physical development. While a signification number of men do report depression following the birth of a child, until now the influence of depression in fathers during the early years of a child's life has received scant attention."
To determine the impact of paternal depression researchers interviewed the children when they were three-and-a-half years old. They asked questions to determine if there were any signs of emotion problems, worry, sadness or behavioral problems like hyperactivity. The researchers found a higher rate of problems among boys whose fathers had been depressed than with girls. "It may be that boys are specifically sensitive to the effects of parenting by fathers, perhaps because of different involvement by fathers with their sons."Adolescent children who have depressed fathers, have a higher rate of psychiatric disorders.