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November 2007 Issue
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First-time fathers sought for depression study

 General Practice

University of Adelaide psychology researcher Karina Bria is recruiting first-time fathers for a study into postnatal depression in men.

Ms Bria, a PhD student within the Discipline of General Practice, said up to 10% of first-time fathers experienced postnatal depression but in most cases their symptoms were not treated.

"Men's experiences of their transition to fatherhood have not been a major focus for investigation in Australia or overseas, despite between 5-10% of men experiencing depression, anxiety, stress and psychological distress," she said.

"Men are reportedly at greater risk of their depression going unrecognised and untreated because more support and attention is focused on first-time mothers, many of whom are battling the same problems."

In fact, postnatal depression among mothers is also the strongest predictor of depression in the father, according to existing research.

Ms Bria is looking to recruit new fathers who are experiencing postnatal depression.

Her study will explore whether male postnatal depression improves or worsens in the first six months of their child's birth, how depression impacts on a first-time father's ability to bond with their child and the long- term effects of postnatal depression on the father and his family.

"I want to develop a gender-specific screening questionnaire that primary health care professionals can use to detect symptoms of postnatal depression in fathers," Ms Bria said.

This study will include interviews, the development of a gender-specific screening questionnaire and pilot testing of the questionnaire.

Men interested in taking part in the study are asked to email Ms Bria:

Participants will be asked to attend a series of three one-on-one interviews over a six-month period. All information is confidential.

Story by Candy Gibson

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