Men’s Perinatal Mental Health in the Transition to Fatherhood
American Psychological Association
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice
While fathers have come to be more involved with their partners and infants throughout the perinatal period, recent research has shown that roughly 10% of new dads experience mental health difficulties including depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, few psychologists receive focused training regarding conceptualizing, assessing, or treating common men’s issues in the period spanning from conception through a year post-partum. Because men tend not to seek mental health services during this period, the lack of scholarly attention to this vulnerable group reflects a commonly overlooked public mental health disparity. This article provides an overview of the key factors which research and theory suggest inform new fatherhood, along with an in-depth look at paternal postpartum depression. Implications for further practice and research are discussed. Specifically, the authors review psychosocial factors including masculine socialization, self-efficacy, social support, involvement with babies, and paternal postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. Finally, implications for research and practice are discussed.