The objective of a recent, large cohort study was to determine the prevalence of paternal comorbid depression and anxiety during the first and second year postpartum and to identify risk factors amendable to intervention. This longitudinal cohort study was completed in 2015 to 2019 and couples were recruited within 3 weeks of childbirth. Fathers completed a survey after the birth of their child followed by questionnaires at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months postpartum on paternal depression and anxiety symptoms and potential risk factors.
Of the 3,217 enrolled fathers, 2,544 (79.1%) provided data on comorbidity for at least one time point in the first year and 2,442 (75.3%) provided data in the second year postpartum. Results showed a total of 569 fathers (22.4%) had comorbid depression/anxiety at some point in the first year postpartum (2.2% at baseline, 8.44% at 3 months, 8.91% at 6 months, 8.0% at 9 months, and 8.1% at 12 months). At some point in their second year postpartum, 323 fathers (13.2%) had comorbidity (8.1% at 18 months and 8.6% at 24 months). For comorbid depression and anxiety in the second year postpartum, family income supporting >4 people (aOR: 2.56, 95% CI: 1.46–4.46) was the only demographic factor associated with elevated risk of comorbidity.
Common factors associated with comorbidity in the first and second year postpartum were poor or fair perceived health at 4 weeks postpartum, paternal depression before pregnancy, paternal anxiety in the current pregnancy, paternal ADHD symptoms, various indicators
of social support, partner relationship quality, exposure to any intimate partner violence, and parental satisfaction. The high rate of comorbidity between depression and anxiety among fathers demonstrates the importance of screening and early intervention for both depression and anxiety in men during the postpartum period.
Dennis C et al. Depression and Anxiety. Epub ahead of print. Abstract