A comparison of postnatal depression and related factors between Chinese new mothers and fathers

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Aims.This study aims to examine the differences in the prevalence of depression and related factors between new mothers and fathers during the postnatal period.Background.Although the transition to motherhood and postnatal depression has been extensively studied, few studies compared maternal and paternal psychological health during the postnatal period.Design.A cross-sectional design was used.Methods.A total of 376 pairs of new parents participated in this study. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, the Perceived Stress Scale and the Social Support Rating Scale were used to measure depression, perceived stress and social support, respectively. We performed paired t-test and multiple regression to analyse the data.Results.No significant difference in the prevalence of postnatal depression was found between the new mothers and fathers (14·9 vs. 12·5%). Fathers experienced similar stress levels as mothers did, while they received lower level of social support than mothers. Perceived stress, social support and partner's Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score were significantly associated with depression for both mothers and fathers. Less sleeping time of infant and a tense relationship between mothers and mother-in-law were related to mothers' depression. The preference for a male baby was associated with fathers' depression.Conclusion.Both new mothers and fathers experienced postnatal depression in China.Relevance to clinical practice.Clinical nurses should pay attention to psychological health among new parents during postnatal period. Perinatal services, such as antenatal and postnatal education and counselling, should also be provided for fathers.

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