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Depressive Symptoms among Mothers and Fathers in Early Parenthood
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0242-0343
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aims: The overall aims were to study depressive symptoms among mothers and fathers in early parenthood and how depressive symptoms are related to dyadic consensus (DCS), sense of coherence (SOC), perceiving of the child temperament, separation within the couple and bonding to the infant.

Methods: Study I-III was based on the BiT-study, a longitudinal project where 393 couples answered 3 questionnaires including instruments measuring DCS at one week after childbirth, depressive symptoms at 3 months and parental stress at 18 months after childbirth. Study IV was based on the UPPSAT-study, a population based cohort project, where 727 couples answered questionnaires measuring depressive symptoms at 6 weeks and 6 months after childbirth, and impaired bonding at 6 months after childbirth.

Results: In the BiT-study, 17.7% of the mothers and 8.7% of the fathers scored depressive symptoms at 3 months after childbirth, using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) cut-off of ≥10. There was an association between depressive symptoms and less consensus (DCS), and the parents partly differed regarding which areas of their relationship they perceived that they disagreed about. Parents with depressive symptoms had a poorer SOC and perceived their child as more difficult than parents without depressive symptoms. Among the couples, 20% were separated 6-8 years after childbirth. Separation was associated with less dyadic consensus, more depressive symptoms and parental stress. In the UPPSAT-study, 15.3% of the mothers and 5.1% of the fathers scored depressive symptoms 6 weeks after childbirth, using the EPDS cut-off of ≥10. Further, there was an association between impaired bonding at 6 months and the parents’ depressive symptoms, as well as experience of deteriorated relationship with the spouse.

Conclusions and clinical implications: Health professionals need the knowledge that depressive symptoms are common in both mother and fathers in early parenthood. It is also important to understand how depressive symptoms are associated to dyadic consensus, SOC, separation and impaired bonding in order to optimize conditions for the whole family. This knowledge is also important for the public, so those who are pregnant and new parents as well as the society are aware that there might be problems in early parenthood as depressive symptoms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. , 75 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1060
Keyword [en]
depressive symptoms, early parenthood, fathers, gender, health promoting, mothers
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Research subject
Caring Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-237060ISBN: 978-91-554-9125-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-237060DiVA: diva2:766308
Public defence
2015-02-06, Samlingssalen, Ingång 29, Västmanlands sjukhus, Västerås, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-01-14 Created: 2014-11-26 Last updated: 2015-03-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The association between perceived relationship discord at childbirth and parental postpartum depressive symptoms: a comparison of mothers and fathers in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The association between perceived relationship discord at childbirth and parental postpartum depressive symptoms: a comparison of mothers and fathers in Sweden
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2012 (English)In: Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, ISSN 0300-9734, E-ISSN 2000-1967, Vol. 117, no 4, 430-438 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim

To examine whether mothers' and fathers' levels of perceived relationship discord at childbirth were associated with postpartum depressive symptoms when the child was 3 months old. Another aim was to examine parents' levels of self-reported depressive symptoms. The hypothesis was that parents with high levels of perceived relationship discord have higher levels of postpartum depressive symptoms than parents with low levels of perceived relationship discord.

Method

One week after childbirth, 305 couples' perceived level of relationship discord was measured using the Dyadic Consensus Subscale (DCS) of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS). At 3 months postpartum, the same couples answered the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) questionnaire. The relations between perceived level of relationship discord and postpartum depressive symptoms were analysed using standard non-parametric statistical methods.

Results

The mothers and fathers partly differed regarding which areas of their relationship they perceived that they disagreed with their partners about. Furthermore, 16.5% of the mothers and 8.7% of the fathers reported postpartum depressive symptoms, and there was a moderate level of correlation between the DCS and EPDS scores.

Conclusion

These results may be useful for professionals in antenatal care and child health centres as well as for family caregivers who need to be aware that mothers and fathers may have different views on relationship discord and of the high level of depressive symptoms in recent parents. Further research is needed to examine perceived relationship discord and the development of depressive symptoms postpartum over a longer term.

Keyword
Depression postpartum, Family, Family relations, Fathers, Mothers
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-186016 (URN)10.3109/03009734.2012.684805 (DOI)000310372800011 ()
Available from: 2012-11-28 Created: 2012-11-27 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Association between mothers' and fathers' depressive symptoms, sense of coherence and perception of their child's temperament in early parenthood in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Association between mothers' and fathers' depressive symptoms, sense of coherence and perception of their child's temperament in early parenthood in Sweden
2013 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 41, no 3, 233-239 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aims: To examine whether there was any association between mothers' and fathers' post-partum depressive symptoms and sense of coherence and perception of their child's temperament. The hypotheses were that parents with depressive symptoms: 1) have more often a poor sense of coherence, and 2) perceive their child's temperament to be more difficult than parents without depressive symptoms. Methods: A total of 401 Swedish-speaking couples, who were the parents of children born through the years 2004-2006 in the northern part of the county of Vastmanland, Sweden, were invited to participate in the study. The parents answered 3 questionnaires including: at inclusion of the study: demographic data (n = 393 couples); at 3 months: the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the Sense of Coherence Scale (n = 308 couples); and at 18 months: the Infant Characteristics Questionnaire (n = 272 couples). Results: Depressive symptoms measured at 3 months, were reported by 17.7% of mothers and 8.7% of fathers, and correlated significantly between mothers and fathers within couples (rho = 0.165, p = 0.003). Mothers and fathers with depressive symptoms had a poorer sense of coherence (p < 0.001, p < 0.001) and perceived their child's temperament as more difficult than mothers and fathers without depressive symptoms at 3 (p = 0.028, p < 0.001) and 18 months (p = 0.145, p = 0.012 respectively). Conclusions: Early parenthood has been studied thoroughly in mothers, but few studies have included fathers. Identifying problems in early parenthood could help predict later problems exhibited by the preschool child, which might be prevented by supportive programmes.

Keyword
Child temperament, fathers, mothers, post-partum depression, sense of coherence
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-201811 (URN)10.1177/1403494812472006 (DOI)000318632100003 ()
Available from: 2013-06-17 Created: 2013-06-17 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Depressive symptoms postpartum among parents are associated with marital separation: A Swedish cohort study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Depressive symptoms postpartum among parents are associated with marital separation: A Swedish cohort study
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2014 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1403-4948, E-ISSN 1651-1905, Vol. 42, no 7, 660-668 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aims: To study whether there is an association between dyadic consensus, depressive symptoms, and parental stress during early parenthood and marital separation 6–8 years after childbirth, among couples in Sweden.

Methods: At baseline, 393 couples were included. The couples answered three questionnaires, including: Dyadic consensus at 1 week post-partum, depressive symptoms at 3 months post-partum and parental stress at 18 months post-partum. The parents’ addresses were followed up after 6–8 years, to study the marital separation rate.

Results: We found, 6–8 years after childbirth, that 20% of study couples were separated. Separation was associated with less dyadic consensus (mothers p < 0.001; fathers p < 0.001), depressive symptoms (mothers p = 0.022; fathers p = 0.041) and parental stress (mothers p = 0.002; fathers p = 0.040). The hazard ratio (HR) for marital separation was related to dyadic consensus for fathers (HR 0.51; 95% CI 0.28–0.92), depressive symptoms for mothers (HR 1.69; 95% CI 1.01–2.84) and fathers (HR 1.92; 95% CI 1.12–3.28), and the mother’s parental stress (HR 2.16; 95% CI 1.14–4.07).

Conclusions: Understanding how dyadic consensus, depressive symptoms and parental stress are associated with marital separation is important for health professionals. It could be useful in developing interventions to provide parents with adequate support during pregnancy and early parenthood. This knowledge is also important for the public. Parents should get support in pregnancy and while bringing up children, which may help prevent marital separation and optimize conditions for the children.

National Category
Other Health Sciences
Research subject
Caring Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-237085 (URN)10.1177/1403494814542262 (DOI)000344066600016 ()25053465 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2014-11-26 Created: 2014-11-26 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. Association between parental depressive symptoms and impaired bonding with the infant
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Association between parental depressive symptoms and impaired bonding with the infant
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2016 (English)In: Archives of Women's Mental Health, ISSN 1434-1816, E-ISSN 1435-1102, Vol. 19, no 1, 87-94 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Impaired bonding with the infant is associated with maternal postpartum depression but has not been investigated extensively in fathers. The primary study aim was to evaluate associations between maternal and paternal depressive symptoms and impaired bonding with their infant. A secondary aim was to determine the associations between parents’ marital problems and impaired bonding with the infant. The study is part of a population-based cohort project (UPPSAT) in Uppsala, Sweden. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) at 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum and the Postpartum Bonding Questionnaire at 6 months postpartum were completed by 727 couples. The prevalence of impaired bonding was highest among couples in which both spouses had depressive symptoms. Impaired bonding was associated with higher EPDS scores in both mothers and fathers, as well as with experiencing a deteriorated marital relationship. The association between maternal and paternal impaired bonding and the mothers’ and fathers’ EPDS scores remained significant even after adjustment for relevant confounding factors. Depressive symptoms at 6 weeks postpartum are associated with impaired bonding with the infant at 6 months postpartum for both mothers and fathers. It is critical to screen for and prevent depressive symptoms in both parents during early parenthood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2016
National Category
Other Medical Sciences Pediatrics Applied Psychology
Research subject
Caring Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-237090 (URN)10.1007/s00737-015-0522-3 (DOI)000369012400012 ()25854998 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2014-11-26 Created: 2014-11-26 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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