Study: Paternal Depression May Be More Common

Jul 24, 2018

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers found a higher than expected number of fathers may have postpartum depression.

IU School of Medicine Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Erika Cheng says the findings were surprising.

"So we found that fathers were endorsing symptoms of depression almost as often at the moms were," says Cheng. 

The study gathered data from community health care centers in Indianapolis, and it included screening questions directed towards dads. 

Five percent of mothers screened positive for depression and 4.4 percent of fathers. Cheng says the first 15 months following birth there is an increased risk for postpartum depression.

"We know that dads who are depressed are less engaged with their kids which can lead to cognitive and behavioral problems," says Cheng. 

The study also found that fathers were present at 30 percent of pediatric wellness visits. Cheng suggests these appointments could give providers a way to address postnatal depression in mothers and fathers.