Both Mothers and Fathers at Risk for Depression in First Year After Child's Birth
Authors and Disclosures
is a freelance writer for Medscape.
Disclosure: Deborah Brauser has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
CME Clinical Editor, Medscape, LLC
Disclosure: Brande Nicole Martin has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Associate Clinical Professor, Residency Program Director, Prime-LC, University of California-Irvine, Orange, California; Department of Family Medicine, University of California-Irvine, Orange, California
Disclosure: Charles P. Vega, MD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
CME Program Manager, Medscape, LLC
Disclosure: Sarah Fleischman has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
- Distinguish consequences of paternal depression in children.
- Describe the findings of the current study regarding their risk for depression in parents after the birth of their child.
- Researchers used The Health Improvement Network database to evaluate parental depression. This database contains information on approximately 5 million patients from more than 350 UK practices. The current study focuses on data accumulated between 1993 and 2007.
- Children up to age 12 years in the database were linked to their mothers and an adult man in the household, who was presumed to be the father unless there was an age difference of more than 20 years between the mother and the adult man.
- Researchers used database Read codes, which measure diagnoses, symptoms, prescriptions, and referrals to secondary care, to identify parental depression. Read codes for bipolar illness and depression with psychosis were excluded, as were codes for depressive symptoms without a diagnosis of depression.
- The use of antidepressants was used to identify parental depression, but not when there was a concomitant diagnosis that could explain the use of antidepressants.
- 86,957 mother-father-child triads were identified, and 19,286 mothers experienced depression, as did 8012 fathers. Most adults with depression were treated with antidepressants. The median length of antidepressant prescriptions was 105 days.
- The overall incidence rates of depression were 7.53 episodes per 100 person-years among mothers and 2.69 episodes per 100 person-years among fathers for the period between a child's birth and age 12 years.
- The incidence of parental depression was highest in the first year postpartum (13.93 episodes per 100 person-years among mothers and 3.56 episodes per 100 person-years among fathers).
- Rates of paternal depression increased between 1993 and 2007, whereas the incidence of maternal depression remained fairly stable with time.
- By age 12 years, 39% of mothers and 21% of fathers had experienced an episode of depression.
- A history of depression and higher social deprivation predicted a higher risk for depression among mothers and fathers. In addition, parents were more likely to be depressed if they were 15 to 24 years old at the time of delivery vs older parents.
- Paternal depression is associated with a higher risk for speech and language problems as well as externalizing behavioral problems among children.
- The current study finds a significant rate of depression among mothers and fathers, particularly in the first year after delivery of their child.