Postpartum Depression in Mothers and Fathers

Postpartum depression is well documented for mothers but not for fathers.  This led some researchers to question what is the prevalence of depression for both mothers and fathers?  Also, what impact does depression have on parent-infant interactions?

Examining over 5,000 two-parent families, researchers measured symptoms of depression and associated these symptoms with the character of interactions parents had with their infant.  The  findings suggested that:

  • 14% of mothers exhibited significant levels of depression.
  • 10% of fathers showed enough depressive symptoms to be consistent with a diagnosis of depression.
  • Mothers who were depressed were 1.5 times more likely to engage in healthy eating and sleeping behaviors with their infant.
  • For both mothers and fathers, depressive symptoms were consistent with less time reading, singing, and telling stories with their baby.

Abstract: Individual and Combined Effects of Postpartum Depression in Mothers and Fathers on Parenting Behavior, Pediatrics

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