Postpartum depression doesn’t just
happen to mothers.
New fathers have been experiencing
elevated rates of depression for some time, according to a study published in
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
A team of British researchers
scoured the medical records of nearly 87,000 couples in the UK who had a baby
between 1993 and 2007. They identified parents who got prescriptions for
antidepressant medications or received a diagnosis of depression.
Overall, they found that the rate
of depression for mothers was nearly 14 cases per 100 person-years in the first
12 months after a baby was born. That rate dropped to about 6 cases per 100
person-years in the second year and continued to decline slightly over the next
For fathers, the rate of depression
in the first year was 3.56 cases per 100 person-years. It then fluctuated
between 1.95 and 2.72 cases per 100 person-years until their kids became
The researchers also found that
more men became vulnerable to depression as the years passed. At the beginning
of the study in 1993, the rate of depression for fathers was 1.61 cases per 100
person-years. By 2007, that figure was up to 2.87 cases per 100 person-years.
But on the whole, moms were still
more depressed than dads – 39 per cent of mothers experienced at least one
episode of depression during the first 12 years of a child’s life, compared
with 21 per cent of fathers.