Fathers of young children may be almost as likely as new mothers to experience depression.
While many women may be screened during prenatal visits or checkups after birth, probably men are not.
In a new study researchers examined results from depression screenings done for parents during more than 9,500 visits to pediatrics clinics with their children.
Overall, 4.4 percent of fathers and five percent of mothers were positive.
Dads who are depressed are less engaged with their kids, which can lead to cognitive and behavioral problems, lead study author Erika Cheng, a pediatrics researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis said.
One limitation of the study is that it was done at just five pediatrics clinics in Indianapolis, and it’s possible screening results might be different elsewhere.
It’s also possible that not all people who screened positive for symptoms of depression would ultimately be diagnosed with the mental health disorder.
Because parental depression can have lasting physical and mental health affects for young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all parents – both mothers and fathers – get screened for depression during well-baby and well-child checkups.
For more information
Prevalence of Depression Among Fathers at the Pediatric Well-Child Care Visit Pediatrics
Indiana University School of Medicine
The American Academy of Pediatrics
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