A significant number of men experience prenatal and postpartum depression, and the rate is marginally higher in the United States than in other countries, according to a meta-analysis of 43 studies.
The overall rate of paternal depression was 10.4%, with a U.S. rate of 14.1% vs. 8.2% in other countries. The study also reported maternal depression at a rate of 23.8%, with a moderate positive correlation between maternal and paternal depression.
The findings suggest that “more efforts should be made to improve screening and referral, particularly in light of the mounting evidence that early paternal depression may have substantial emotional, behavioral, and developmental effects on children,” noted James F. Paulson, Ph.D., and his colleague Sharnail D. Bazemore of the department of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk (JAMA 2010;303:1961-9). The correlation between paternal and maternal depression “also suggests a screening rubric – depression in one patient should prompt clinical attention to the other,” the investigators wrote.
The meta-analysis included studies from 16 countries and involved 28,004 new and expectant fathers aged 18 years or older.