According to research from James F. Paulson, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School, fathers in substantial numbers experience prenatal and postpartum depression.
The findings have made international news headlines, including stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Reuters, CNN, TIME and BBC News,
His analysis shows that about 10 percent of fathers experience prenatal or postpartum depression. The first 3 months postpartum show the lowest rates of depression (7.7 percent), while the 3- to 6-month postpartum period shows the highest rate (25.6 percent).
Research also shows a moderate correlation between depression in fathers and mothers, and fathers in the United States have higher rates of depression, 14.1 percent vs. 8.2 percent worldwide.
"Future research in this area should focus on parents together to examine the onset and joint course of depression in new parents, " Dr. Paulson writes. "This may increase our capacity for early identification of paternal depression, add leverage for prevention and treatment, and increase the understanding of how paternal depression conveys risk to infants and young children."
Dr. Paulson's research is published in the May 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association's theme issue on mental health.