Newsroom

Dads can suffer the baby blues too

11 March 2010

Up to 10 per cent of dads suffer some level of depression during pregnancy and after the birth; and Deakin University psychology researchers want to know why.

Deakin psychology Senior Research Fellow Dr Helen Skouteris and PhD student Kim Yiong Wee are calling on 250 dads-to-be from anywhere in Australia to share their feelings and experiences as part of the study that aims to identify the triggers for ante and postnatal depression in men.

“Not a lot is known about the risk factors for depression in men after the birth of a baby, so it is highly likely that more men are suffering without being diagnosed,” Dr Skouteris explained.

“What is known is that depression post birth in fathers has serious negative consequences for their child’s development, for example an increased risk of behavioural problems, and for the relationship with their partner.

“By fully understanding the factors that might predict men’s health and wellbeing during pregnancy and after birth, appropriate diagnoses, advice and support services can be provided specifically for the needs of fathers.”

Depression in men, pre- and post-birth, is not commonly recognised or talked about, so Dr Skouteris would like to better understand the development of depression in expecting and new dads.

“Keeping an eye on the mother’s health is a common and essential part of pregnancy, however it is equally important for dads to maintain their physical and mental health at this time and also after the baby is born,” Dr Skouteris said.

The researchers invite 250 men and their pregnant partners who are 12 to 17 weeks in gestation to take part in the study.  The study will follow the participants from mid pregnancy to 12 months after the baby is born.  Couples interested in taking part or wanting further information can contact Kim Yiong Wee at kywe@deakin.edu.au

News facts
  • Deakin researchers investigating why some dads develop postnatal depression
  • 250 dads-to-be needed for the study
  • Study important for the development of appropriate diagnoses and support services for dads

Media contact

Dr Helen Skouteris
School of Psychology
0414 409 563
helen.skouteris@deakin.edu.au

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11th March 2010