New Dads, Like New Moms, Get Depressed After Kids Are Born

Illustration for article titled New Dads, Like New Moms, Get Depressed After Kids Are Born

New moms aren’t the only ones suffering from depression after their babies are born — new fathers are victims too. A new report shows that the first five years of parenting can be the toughest for new dads in terms of developing depression.

According to USA Today, the Pediatrics journal reported a study of over 10,000 males which found that depression symptoms have increased by 68 percent over the first five years for fathers who are around 25 years old and lived with their kids. This is a key attachment and bonding time for children.

Paternal depression affects 5% to 10% of fathers, Garfield says, while about 10% to 15% of new mothers will experience maternal depression.


But like the eating disorders among men that we wrote about last week, there is plenty of research on mothers and depression but little on fathers.

One researcher, Michael Weitzman, a professor of pediatrics and global health at the New York University School of Medicine, says that the biggest predictors for depression in young fathers that he's found has been living with a depressed mother and having a child with emotional or behavioral problems.

Fathers suffering from depression might use more corporal punishment or interact less with their children. On the other hand, kids raised by depressed dads are at a higher risk for poor language and reading skills as well as more behavior problems. Ultimately, to learn more about depression in young fathers, researchers need more dads to sign up for trials.


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Not that I doubt the findings, but how on earth do they separate out the plain old sleep deprivation effects from the "new fatherhood" effects? (I have the same question about 4/5ths of studies on new moms.)