A new study was published this week that provides information about and raises awareness of a largely unrecognized problem - depression in new dads and the impact it has on their parenting.
The study, “Fathers’ Depression Related to Positive and Negative Parenting Behaviors With 1-Year-Old Children,” appears in the April issue of Pediatrics. Researchers analyzed data from 1,746 fathers of 1-year-old children and found that 7% of the fathers were depressed. Further findings show that about 40 percent of the depressed fathers reported spanking their children, versus just 13 percent of fathers who weren't depressed. The depressed fathers were also less likely to report that they regularly read to their child.
One important aspect of this study is that a whopping 77% of the depressed fathers reported having had contact with their child's pediatrician during their child's first year. As a result of this finding, The American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that "visits to the pediatrician may provide an ideal opportunity to discuss specific parenting behaviors and refer depressed fathers for appropriate treatment."
This conclusion is in line with an important project that PHA is undertaking this spring. PHA has created a new poster that calls attention to postpartum depression and anxiety and will be running a "Poster Drive" aimed at ensuring that a large number of pediatricians throughout San Diego display the poster in their offices. This will raise awareness in both providers and patients - mothers and fathers alike - increasing the chances that parental depression can be identified and treated early.
If you would like to support the PHA Poster Drive, through donations or by volunteering to deliver posters, please contact PHA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the above study can be found on the American Academy of Pediatrics website at http://www.aap.org/.