Presentation Information

Sheehan David Fisher

Impact of Paternal and Maternal Postpartum Depression on Parenting Behaviors and Infant/Child Outcomes


Maternal and paternal depression rates are elevated during the perinatal period compared to the normal population. Historically, fathers were excluded from perinatal mental health research but there is strong evidence that fathers have their own unique experiences that are more recently being considered within research. Mothers and fathers express and report depressive symptoms differently, which may influence detection of depression. Both parents’ mental health has an impact on parenting behaviors and the family functioning, which ultimately have an impact on child health. Perinatal clinical treatment would benefit from a comprehensive examination of the family dynamic to best provide treatment of perinatal depression and improve child health. Fathers can be utilized as an asset to mothers and clinicians to support maternal mental health. Future research is needed to optimize clinical treatment of perinatal mental illness that accounts for the full family dynamic.