Psychosocial risk factors associated with fathers' mental health in the postnatal period: results from a population-based study

Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2013 Apr;48(4):563-73. doi: 10.1007/s00127-012-0568-8. Epub 2012 Aug 17.


Purpose: Fathers' psychological distress in the postnatal period can have adverse effects on their children's wellbeing and development, yet little is known about the factors associated with fathers' distress. This paper examines a broad range of socio-demographic, individual, infant and contextual factors to identify those associated with fathers' psychological distress in the first year postpartum.

Methods: Secondary analysis of data from 3,219 fathers participating in the infant cohort of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children at wave 1 when children were 0-12 months of age.

Results: Approximately 10 % of fathers reported elevated symptoms of psychological distress. Logistic regression analyses revealed that the risk factors were poor job quality, poor relationship quality, maternal psychological distress, having a partner in a more prestigious occupation and low parental self-efficacy.

Conclusion: These findings provide new information to guide the assessment of fathers' risk for psychological distress in postnatal period. There are also important social policy implications related to workplace entitlements and the provision of services for fathers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Welfare
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Postnatal Care / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Efficacy
  • Stress, Psychological*