New Study Shows People Are Less Likely To Identify Postnatal Depression In Men

Postpartum depression is often brushed aside in both women and men. But in men, the symptoms are often taken even less seriously than they are the case of women. Most people think that the new parents are just stressed because of the major life change and may put their depressive symptoms under the rug.

Talking about postnatal depression in males, a topic that needs more awareness surrounding it, one in ten dads are likely to experience postnatal depression. Typically, in the first three to six months after the birth of a baby, men go through this type of depression. Treatment for postnatal depression in men in same as it is for women.

Since this depression in the child’s father can impact him, its better to take measures soon. Unfortunately, not many people are able to identify postnatal depressive symptoms in new fathers as per a new study.

What Did This Study Reveal?

A new study which has been conducted by the Anglia Ruskin University has found that people are more likely to notice symptoms of postnatal depression in women than in men. This research, which has been published in the Journal of Mental Health, was carried out on 406 Britons in the age bracket of 18 to 70.

Participants were shown case studies of both the genders, a man’s and a women’s cases who both exhibited postnatal depressive symptoms. It was found that both male and female participants weren’t able to spot what was wrong with men compared to women. While only 46% of the participants were able to tell that the case study of the man showed he was depressed, 90% recognized the symptoms in the woman’s case study.

Most confused postnatal depression for stress or fatigue in the male due to overlapping identical symptoms. While 21% of the times the male’s postnatal depression was mistaken for stress, it was mistaken for stress for the female case study only 0.5% of the time.

Overall, the study found that overall the opinions toward the male’s case study were negative. Participants were not as distressed looking at the male’s condition, they thought it would be easier to treat his condition, and they also were less likely to recommend the male to seek help in this regard.

The lead author of this study, Viren Swami said, “There may be a number of reasons for this gender difference. It is possible that general awareness of paternal postnatal depression still remains relatively low and there might be a perception among the British public that postnatal depression is a ‘women’s issue’ due to gender-specific factors such as pregnancy-induced hormonal changes and delivery complications.”

He further added that this study shows that there needs to be more awareness regarding postnatal depression in new fathers. Men who experience postnatal depression may not feel confident enough to ask for help. Healthcare professionals need to assess fathers as well in the routine checkups of parents.