More than 1 in 5 fathers have symptoms of depression and anxiety at some point during the first year after their children are born, a study in Depression and Anxiety has found.
“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,” wrote Cindy-Lee Dennis, Ph.D., of the University of Toronto and colleagues.
In the study, which ran from 2015 through 2019, couples separately completed a baseline questionnaire via telephone after the birth of their child and then completed follow-up questionnaires online at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months postpartum. The primary outcome was comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms in fathers as measured by the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the 20-item State subscale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Overall, 2,544 fathers provided data for at least one time point during the first year postpartum, and 2,442 fathers provided data during the second year.
The researchers found that 22.4% of fathers had comorbid depression and anxiety symptoms at some point in the first year postpartum, and 13.2% of fathers had comorbid symptoms at some point in the second year postpartum. Overall, 2.2% of fathers had comorbid symptoms at baseline, and approximately 8% to 9% of fathers had comorbid symptoms at any time point in the study up to 24 months.
Fathers were more likely to experience comorbid symptoms of depression and anxiety if they had depression before the pregnancy, they had anxiety during the pregnancy, they had experienced significant adverse childhood experiences, they had screened positive for symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, they were victims of intimate partner violence, or the mother or infant was in poor or fair health at 4 weeks postpartum.
“Many of these risk factors suggest potential modifiable targets to develop interventions to support paternal mental health in the first two years postpartum with the goal to optimize child and family outcomes,” Dennis and colleagues wrote. “Our findings demonstrate that the postpartum period may be a time of particular vulnerability for relapse or possibly worsening of symptoms in fathers with a history of mental illness, as it is for women.”
For related information, see the Psychiatric Services article “Public Attitudes and Feelings of Warmth Toward Women and Men Experiencing Depression During the Perinatal Period.”
What Does the No Surprises Act Mean for You?
The No Surprises Act goes into effect on January 1. Psychiatrists and other health care professionals are required to give uninsured and self-pay patients a “good faith estimate” of costs for services when scheduling care or when the patient requests an estimate. The law also prohibits balance-billing, or “surprise bills,” to patients for emergency and certain nonemergency services provided at facilities.
The “good faith estimate” is a notification of expected charges for scheduled or requested services. The “expected charge” is either the cash rate or rate established by a provider for an uninsured or self-pay patient, reflecting any discounts for such individuals; or the amount the provider would expect to charge if the provider intended to bill a health care plan directly for the services.