Chrome 2001
.
Aetna Intelihealth InteliHealth Aetna Intelihealth Aetna Intelihealth
 
.
. .
.
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001
Health News Health News
.
Young Dads at Risk of Depressive Symptoms, Study Finds
April 14, 2014

 

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Young fathers may be at increased risk of depression symptoms after their baby arrives, all the way through to the child's kindergarten, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that for men who become fathers in their 20s and live with their children, depression symptoms tend to rise during the first five years of the child's life.

Experts stressed that the findings don't mean that young dads are destined to be clinically depressed. The study didn't prove that early fatherhood causes depressive symptoms -- it only showed an association between the two.

"But this does show us a time period where fathers are at increased risk," said lead researcher Dr. Craig Garfield, an associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

The new research was published online April 14 in Pediatrics and in the May print issue of the journal.

Many studies have looked into the risk of postpartum depression for mothers, but research into fathers' mental health during this period is much newer, Garfield said. Studies so far suggest that 5 percent to 10 percent of new dads develop clinical depression after the baby arrives.

What's more, researchers have found that when fathers are depressed, children tend to have more behavioral problems and weaker reading and language skills.

It's not clear what role dads' depression plays in those problems. But "when parents thrive, children thrive," Garfield said, so both parents' mental health is important.

For the new study, Garfield's team used data from a long-running project that began following more than 20,000 U.S. teens in the 1990s. Every few years, the participants completed a 10-question screening tool on depression symptoms -- asking whether they felt unhappy, tired or disliked, for example.

Of the more than 10,600 young men in the study, one-third had become fathers by the time they were aged 24 to 32. And, Garfield's team found, dads' depression scores showed a clear shift over time.

Among fathers living with their children, depression scores rose by an average of 68 percent over the first five years of their child's life. Fathers who weren't living with their children showed a different trend: Their depression symptoms rose after high school, and then started to decline after they became fathers.

While that 68 percent rise sounds big, it is an average for the group, Garfield said. And for many men, even that much of a change would not be enough to push them into clinical depression.

"Many men started off with very low [scores], so even with that increase they probably wouldn't screen positive for depression," Garfield noted. "But some would."

Why do some men get depressed after the baby arrives? "We really don't understand the reasons yet," Garfield said.

With new moms, experts suspect that depression arises from a mix of stress and the biological changes that come with pregnancy and childbirth. Men's bodies aren't affected by fatherhood, but their lives definitely change, noted Eric Lewandowski, of the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

New fathers may feel added financial strain or stress on their marriage, for example, said Lewandowski, who was not involved in the study.

"The transition can be a tough one," he said, "especially around the age at which these men became fathers -- in their mid-20s."

It's not clear, Lewandowski noted, whether the findings might be different for men who become fathers in their 30s or beyond.

Both he and Garfield said the results call attention to fathers' mental health. "Parenting is a team sport, and understanding how men transition into fatherhood is important, too," Garfield said.

There are no guidelines on when or how to screen new fathers for depression. But more research into the issue could change that, Garfield said.

For now, Lewandowski said it's important for new parents to be prepared for the reality of having a child. "It's not all roses. It's tough," he noted.

On the other hand, he said, there's "the joy of having a child," and it's hard for a scientific study to measure that and "weigh" it against the less positive aspects of parenting. And maybe for most moms and dads, Lewandowski said, the joy and the difficulties can "co-exist."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on depression in men.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


SOURCES: Craig Garfield, M.D., associate professor, pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Med, Chicago; R. Eric Lewandowski, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor, child and adolescent psychiatry, NYU Langone Medical Center, Child Stud...

InteliHealth
.
.
.
.
.
More News
InteliHealth .
.
General Health News
Today's News
Today In Health History
This Week In Health
Addiction News
Allergy News
Alzheimer's News
Arthritis News
Asthma News
Babies News
Breast Cancer News
Bronchitis News
Cancer News
Cervical Cancer News
Children's Health News
Cholesterol News
Dental/Oral Health News
Depression News
Diabetes News
Ear, Nose And Throat News
Environmental Health News
Eye News
Fitness News
Genetics News
Headache News
Health Policy News
Heart Attack News
Heart Failure News
Heart Health News
HIV/AIDS News
Infectious Diseases News
Influenza News
Lung Cancer News
Medication News
Men's Health News
Mental Health News
Multiple Sclerosis News
Nutrition News
Parkinson's News
Pregnancy News
Prostate Cancer News
Schizophrenia
Senior Health News
Sexual/Reproductive Health News
Sexual dysfunction
Sleep News
STDs News
Stroke News
Tobacco Cessation News
Weight Management News
Women's Health News
.
.
.
.
InteliHealth
    Print Printer-friendly format    
   
.  
This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.
.