A new study on the emotional lives of new dads has found that men can suffer from postpartum depression also. The large study highlights the need for men to be screened for depression as well as mothers after the birth of a new baby.
The study looked at more than 1,700 fathers of 1-year-olds born between 1998 and 2000. Among the fathers, 7 percent reported some form of postpartum depression after their children were born. Many of those fathers suffering from depression spoke with their family doctors about their issues, making the depression easily recognizable among men.
Men who suffer from postpartum depression are more likely to spank their children than those who are not facing depression. These men are also less likely to read to their children and interact in meaningful ways because of the depression. The research group suggests that men need to seek treatment for depression to help them cope with the birth of a new child.
The study was conducted by Dr. R. Neal Davis and colleagues at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It was published in the April issue of the journal Pediatrics. Dr. Davis interviewed the fathers through the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study conducted nationally of US families.
Dr. Craig F. Garfield of Northwestern University in Chicago, says this depression may occur because fathers are taking a more active role in the caring of their children. Childcare was once regulated to the mothers solely, but cultural changes have made many men more interested in stepping up and taking part in the raising of their children. Unfortunately, this has made them more susceptible to the depression that is most commonly associated with motherhood. – Summer, staff writer
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