Study: Fathers can suffer postpartum depression too

We hear a lot about postpartum depression in new mothers, but can fathers get it too?

The answer is yes, and it can have serious consequences.

A new study found that dads too get post-baby blues, and it can have a negative effect on their parenting and increase the chances a child will be spanked.

Researchers looked at data from more than 1700 fathers of 1-year-olds from 20 large cities around the U.S.

The fathers were assessed for depression and asked whether they had spanked their child in the last month.

Overall, about 7 percent of the fathers had major depression within the previous year and those dads were nearly 4 times more likely to spank their children, compared to those who weren't depressed.

The dads were also asked how often they played with, read to and sang to their children.

The depressed dads were less than half as likely to read to their children. There were no differences in the reporting of playing or singing songs.

Yet there was some good news.

Almost 80 percent of all the dads reported taking their children to routine doctor visits.

The researchers suggest that's an opportune time for pediatricians to screen fathers for depression.

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