Approximately 10% of new fathers demonstrate symptoms of depression. Yet, the majority of men fail to identify the condition when it presents itself. The symptoms are comparable in both sexes, although the causes might be dissimilar. Hormonal changes may contribute to a woman’s anguish, whereas unexpected and sudden changes in lifestyle are thought as being the triggers that cause the man’s depression. Following the birth of a baby, there follows several changes in the family structure. There may be pressure to look after the child, or take care of it economically. Consequently, the man might not get the usual attention from the wife, and obviously, his sleep pattern is affected (Paulson & Bazemore, 2010).
Purpose of Study
Where as postpartum depression (PPD) is characteristically regarded as being a woman’s disease, a number of studies suggest that, even though men do not go through any of the hormonal or dramatic physiologic changes that accompany pregnancy, the majority of new fathers might also experience PPD. This study posits to highlight the incidence of postpartum depression in men (Paulson & Bazemore, 2010).
A Meta analytic study conducted by Paulson and Bazemore (2010) analyzed approximately 43 studies that involved 28,004 participants. The participants comprised of men with documented cases of depression occurring at diverse points between the initial trimester of pregnancy and the initial postpartum year. With reference to the incidence, the authors discovered a broad range of estimates across the diverse studies. Grouping the results, the authors estimated the incidence of PPD in men who were new fathers to be approximately 10.4%. This rate is considered lower than rates observed in studies concerning new mothers (Paulson & Bazemore, 2010).
According to the authors the highest paternal depression rates were observed between the periods of 3 to 6 months subsequent to delivery. Another imperative finding of the study revealed that PPD in new fathers was likely to take place when the mother also experienced depression. While some studies have theorized that PPD in the mother contributes as a risk aspect for paternal depression, the studies did not establish causation.
One of the noteworthy restrictions of the report is that it depends upon studies employing diverse methodologies as well as measures of depression. However, the study indicates that it is a relatively universal problem that men too are susceptible to depression for the period of pregnancy as well as the postpartum period (Paulson & Bazemore, 2010).
Whilst there have been considerable efforts to recognize PPD in new mothers, the majority of studies show that the ability to identify and successfully treat postpartum and prenatal mood disorders in the new mothers is comparatively poor. This is regardless of multiple contacts with the health-care providers for the duration of pregnancy as well as and the postpartum period. While the study does not include any information on treatment rates amongst those with PPD, it is possible that depression in persons with limited accessibility to health-care providers is frequently undertreated and overlooked (Paulson & Bazemore, 2010).
There have been numerous studies which reveal that maternal depression may negatively impact the development as well as the welfare of young children. Therefore, according to these findings, topical public policy has underscored the value of attending to mothers’ mental health needs. However, it is essential to consider the effects of paternal depression. A number of studies have demonstrated that paternal depression can place the new-born child at risk for behavior related problems, and psychiatric sickness, afterward. This meta-analysis reveals that depression in men who are new fathers is reasonably widespread and warrants greater attention.
Paulson, J, & Bazemore, S. (2010). Prenatal and Postpartum Depression in Fathers and Its Association with Maternal Depression: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of the American Medical Association. 19; 303(19):1961-9.
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