When Dad Is Sad: Study Finds Postpartum Depression in Men a Growing Concern

As many as 1 in 10 new dads suffer from postpartum depression (PPD), but how does the condition differ for men compared to women? A new study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas finds six commonalities among fathers suffering from PPD, and ultimately highlights the need for better screening among new moms and dads.

Numerous studies have previously emphasized the significance of a father’s role in a child’s development. From having a higher IQ to stronger cognitive functioning to better overall behavior, children with proactive dads reap far greater benefits than those with absent fathers, researchers say. Yet for 5% to 10% of new fathers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the joys of fatherhood are a struggle thanks to postpartum depression. In fact, one previous study showed that 24% to 50% of fathers suffer from PPD if their partner suffers from it, too.

This latest experiment, led by UNLV professor Brandon Eddy, looked through blogs, websites, online forums, and chat rooms, finding dads who have written or talked about their struggles with PPD. The researchers identified six themes that need to be addressed to understand how to help new dads and moms with postpartum depression.

1. Many fathers didn’t know men could suffer from PPD.

Women who noticed PPD symptoms in men didn’t know what to call it and frequently didn’t know how to help. Interestingly, these men report receiving “pushback” from the medical community when they sought out resources or asked about PPD symptoms, with most help catered to women.

2. Gender roles are influential.

Men feel pressured into traditional “tough guy” roles, leaving them with few options to talk about what’s bothering them, and instead must “suck it up.”

3. Gender norms can lead to repressed emotions.

Many new dads were reluctant to share how they truly feel because of fears of sounding weak or ridiculous, especially if their female partner was the breadwinner.

Ben Renner
Ben Rennerhttps://rennerb1.wixsite.com/benrenner
Ben Renner is a writer, editor, and website manager based in Denver, Colorado. He frequently writes about research studies for StudyFinds.org. To see more examples of Ben's blogging work for a variety of audiences on a variety of topics, visit his online portfolio. You can also connect with Ben on LinkedIn.

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