Dads get postpartum depression, too: study

It’s not just new moms who get cursed by biology — dads can get postpartum depression, too.

According to a new study published in the journal “Hormones and Behavior,” men face a higher risk of suffering the baby blues if their testosterone levels drop after their children are delivered. (This is common, previous studies show — a consequence, possibly, of sleep deprivation and struggling to juggle work with the demands of a newborn.)

Experts from the University of Southern California said 10 percent of men report symptoms of depression following the birth of a child — about double the typical rate of depression in males.

Their findings suggest that postpartum depression is nearly as common for fathers as it is for mothers, up to 20 percent of whom suffer from the condition.

It’s not great news for new dads, but at least their partners benefit. The same researchers found that women with testosterone-depleted partners reported fewer symptoms of depression themselves nine and 15 months after birth. Meanwhile, dads whose testosterone levels spiked were more prone to hostile behavior — such as showing emotional, verbal or physical aggression — toward their other halves.

“We often think of motherhood as biologically driven,” says Darby Saxbe, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of psychology at USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “[But] we are still figuring out the biology of what makes dads tick.”

She added: “We know that fathers contribute a lot to child-rearing . . . So it is important to figure out how to support fathers and what factors explain why some fathers are very involved in raising their children while some are absent.”

Saxbe worked with a team of researchers from USC, University of California at Los Angeles and Northwestern University. They analyzed data drawn from 149 couples in the US, tracking them for 15 months after their children’s births.

This article is written by Jane Ridley and was originally featured in a New York Post article at

Leave a Reply