A significant number of fathers — about 10 percent — experience prenatal or postpartum depression, according to a new analysis published in the current edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“There is a clear and consistent link between father’s depression and mother’s depression,” said lead study author James F. Paulson, a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk.
Among the other conclusions: Depressive symptoms in either parent could trigger more severe illness in the other.
“We don’t know if dad’s depression comes first or if there’s some other factor, such as colic, crying or the child’s health problems that may affect both parents and expose them to increased risk of depression,” Paulson said.
The percentage of new dads with depression was the highest among those with 3- to 6-month-old babies, the researchers found.
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