First-time fathers sought for study

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Up to 10% of first-time fathers experience postnatal depression but in most cases their symptoms are not treated, according to University of Adelaide researcher Karina Bria.

The PhD student within the University's Discipline of General Practice is recruiting new fathers for her field work into the area of postnatal depression in first-time fathers.

Ms Bria says existing research in Australia reveals that many men experience anxiety and depression when they become fathers for the first time, but more support is given to new mothers and male postnatal symptoms often go untreated.

"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 says.

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.

The interviews 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 affects 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 says.

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


Contact Details

Ms Karina Bria
PhD student
Discipline of General Practice
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8266 3432
Mobile: +61 0419 803 736

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762