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Monday
Mar142011

Fathers May Suffer from Postpartum Depression, Study Says 

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- While cases of depression in new mothers are quite common, new fathers also experience depression, according to Dr. R. Neal Davis and colleagues at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Researchers in this observational study of more than 1,700 fathers of one-year-olds found that seven percent of those dads had experienced depression.  The odds of spankings also increased, while the probability that fathers might read with their child most days out of the week decreased by half.

The study authors suggested that fathers be screened by a pediatric medical professional for depression, as 77 percent of depressed fathers reported that they had spoken with their child's doctor in the previous year. Fathers are at greater risk for depression in the first year after their child is born.

"Pediatric providers should consider screening fathers for depression, discussing specific parenting behaviors (e.g., reading to children and appropriate discipline), and referring for treatment if appropriate," the authors wrote in the study, which will appear in the April issue of Pediatrics.

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