Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the role of the paternity leave in the appearance of the maternal postpartum depression.
Patients and methods: Fifty-one couples took part in the whole study. Between the second and the fifth day after the childbirth, the mother completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), which measures the symptoms of depression and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) which measures the social support the mother has become. The father completed the EPDS. Two months and then the second time four months after the childbirth, the mother received the EPDS, the MSPSS, and questionnaires measuring the temperament of the baby, the maternal skills, the feeling of being a mother and the quality of life postpartum. In order to evaluate the paternal involvement, the father completed the EPDS and questions about paternal skills and involvement.
Results: The paternity leave seemed not to have any consequences on the results at the EPDS or other questionnaires. However, lack of paternal involvement was a significant predictor of the intensity of the depressive symptoms of the mothers.
Discussion and conclusion: It is not the presence of the father wich seems important to take into account for detection and the traitement of postpatum depression but his participation in the care of the baby.
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