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Fathers' depressive symptoms in the postnatal period: Prevalence and correlates in a population-based Swedish study

Journal article
Authors Pamela Massoudi
Philip Hwang
Birgitta Wickberg
Published in Scandinavian Journal of Public Health
Volume 44
Issue 6
Pages 688-694
ISSN 1403-4948
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 688-694
Language en
Keywords correlates, depression, distress, Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, Fathers, postnatal, Sweden
Subject categories Other Medical Sciences, Psychology


© Associations of Public Health in the Nordic Countries Regions. Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and correlates of depression in new fathers. Methods: A population-based sample of 885 Swedish fathers and their partners completed a questionnaire, including the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at three months postpartum. Correlates of depressive symptoms were analysed with univariate and multiple variable regression models. Results: Symptoms of depression were found in 6.3% of the fathers and 12.0% of the mothers, and the point prevalence of major depression in fathers was 1.3%. The strongest correlates of depressive symptoms in fathers were problems in the partner relationship, a low educational level, previous depression, stressful life events and low partner support. The cross-sectional design could affect the magnitude of the results, and causal inferences cannot be made. Conclusions: Although the rate of depressive symptoms is lower in fathers than in mothers at three months postpartum, the associated factors are similar to those found in studies of mothers. The first visits at the child health centre could include a discussion with both parents about normal transition problems; balancing work, personal and family needs; and distress. When signs of distress or partner relationship difficulties are picked up, this should be followed up and support interventions offered.

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