Postpartum Depression: It's Not Just for Women

The phenomenon of postpartum depression has gotten a PR boost in recent years, thanks in part to the valiant and high-profile efforts of Brooke Shields and that blond lady who used to bunk with Hugh Hefner. But no thanks to Tom Cruise.

Anyway, so apparently former child stars and Playboy bunnies are susceptible, but did you know that men can struggle with the mental malady as well? Take it away, CNN’s Elizabeth Landau.


In fact, postpartum depression in new fathers is a real phenomenon, and is more common than previously thought, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. About 10 percent of men have prenatal and postpartum depression, the study found; previous research had estimated 5 percent, said lead author James Paulson of the department of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

“It’s not screened for and caught enough in women, and I would say in practice it’s [depression in new fathers] virtually unknown,” Paulson said. “Most clinicians and most moms and dads aren’t aware that there’s an increased risk of depression for fathers.”

Depression in fathers has potential negative implications for the family, and for the child’s development and behavioral and emotional health, he said.

Paulson’s study also found that fathers’ depression tended to have an association with mothers’ depression — so when moms were more depressed, so were dads. But more research is needed to determine how the two are related, as one parent’s moods have not been proven to cause the other’s.

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