Depressive Symptoms among Mothers and Fathers in Early Parenthood
Sammanfattning: 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.
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