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Post-Partum Depression in Men

June 21, 2010

Post-partum depression affects men as well as women.


Fatherhood and depression…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Post-partum depression occurs in up to 20% of women. But a review of recent research suggests that it can accompany fatherhood, too. Clinical psychologist James Paulson of Eastern Virginia Medical School says that depression occurs in about 10% of new fathers, which is twice the rate as in the general male population.

JAMES PAULSON (Eastern Virginia Medical School):
One of the things that we found in this study is that there was a consistent positive correlation between depression in mothers and depression in fathers. That suggests that depression is something that we need to move past looking at as an individual problem and we need to start looking more at as a family-level problem.

He says that hormone changes are often blamed for post-partum depression, but that fatigue, the financial burden of parenthood, and other changes around the time of a child’s birth are more reliably linked to the condition in both women and men. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.