Monday, 21 July 2014

Study finds that postnatal depression can be intensified in both men and women according to their baby's behaviour

DEPM's Dr Karen Wynter, Dr Heather Rowe and Prof Jane Fisher have had their study published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health. The article looks at interactions between perceptions of quality of intimate partner relationship and postnatal depressive symptoms in members of heterosexual couples 6 months after the birth of their first infant.

The study found that in both women and men, vulnerable personality traits, coincidental adverse life events and more infant crying and fussing were associated with significantly more depressive symptoms. The quality of the intimate partner relationship was found to be significantly associated with postnatal mental health in both women and men, especially in the context of coincidental stressful events including infant crying.

Additionally, it was noted that awareness of the association between perceptions of the intimate partner as controlling and critical and symptoms of postnatal depression (own and partner’s) provides an opportunity for early intervention by health care practitioners. For example, if a new mother or father is presenting with symptoms of low mood or anxiety, this evidence suggests that the primary health care provider should conduct a broad psychosocial risk assessment, which may include inquiring about the nature of the day to day exchanges with the intimate partner, the baby’s behaviour and concurrent stressful events. 

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