Studies Show Postpartum Mood Disorders Affect New Dads, Too

Studies Show Postpartum Mood Disorders Affect New Dads, Too

Plenty of people know about the mommy blues.

It’s the pre- and postpartum condition that leaves up to 20% of mothers railroaded by depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or a combination of each.

Plenty of people, however, assume the feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety primarily affect the mother. But science is here to say that simply just isn’t true.

According to Michael Weitzman, a professor of Global Public Health at NYU, “6% of dads with new babies show symptoms of the mood disorder,” though it often goes undetected in fathers.

While the condition undoubtedly hits mothers hard, its effect on fathers is also pretty far reaching. Weitzman says the disorder “puts [a father’s] children at a higher risk of developing behavioral and emotional problems.” Later on in life, these children are more likely to act up in school or stray from education entirely.

As if that isn’t bad enough, the father’s mood also significantly impacts the mother, including her ability to parent.

For women, symptoms of parent-related depression include feeling sad and overwhelmed with a dash of insomnia, crying, and appetite changes. Fathers, however, show their symptoms through “anger and irritability and outbursts.”

Because of this, there’s been an increased focus (yay!) on mental-health screenings and resources for dads—though we still have a long way to go.


Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.