Welcoming a new baby brings joy and challenges. Much attention has been focused on how it's normal for new mothers to experience a wide range of emotions and to feel a little blue in the first few weeks after birth, but new research suggests that men, too, can show symptoms of postpartum depression when they enter fatherhood.
A longitudinal study published in the journal "Pediatrics" analyzed the transition to fatherhood among men who were around 25 years old when they became fathers. The study used data from 10,623 men, which came from a combined four waves to support a 23-year longitudinal analysis. The researchers found that depressive symptoms increased on average by 68 percent over the first five years of fatherhood for men who lived in the same house as their children. Symptoms of depression were higher among men who lived with their children than among fathers who did not live with their children or men who did not have any children.
The study showed that fathers are showing increased depressive symptoms during their children's key attachment years, the first five years of life. The paper suggests that it is essential to identify at-risk fathers based on social factors. Once at-risk fathers are identified, effective interventions can be designed to improve health outcomes for the entire family.
If you are feeling down or think you may be experiencing depression symptoms, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor, who can guide you on the best course of action.