Prevalence of paternal depression in pregnancy and the postpartum: An updated meta-analysis

J Affect Disord. 2016 Dec;206:189-203. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.07.044. Epub 2016 Jul 20.


Background: Research in paternal prenatal and postpartum depression has nearly doubled since prevalence rates were last meta-estimated in October 2009. An updated meta-analysis allows additional questions to be answered about moderators that influence risk.

Methods: Studies reporting paternal depression between the first trimester and one-year postpartum were obtained for the period from January 1980 to November 2015. In total 74 studies with 41,480 participants were included, and data was extracted independently by two authors. Moderator analyses included measurement method, timing of assessment, study location, publication year, age, education, parity, history of depression, and maternal depression.

Results: The meta-estimate for paternal depression was 8.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.2-9.6%) with significant heterogeneity observed among prevalence rates. Prevalence significantly varied based on publication year, study location, measurement method, and maternal depression. Prevalence was not conditional on paternal age, education, parity, history of paternal depression, and timing of assessment.

Limitations: Analyses were limited by variability in assessment measures, countries from which studies were available, extant data for the first trimester and 6- to 9-month postpartum, and method of reporting sociodemographic information.

Conclusions: Paternal depression was present in 8% of men in the included studies. Future screening policies and interventions should consider moderating risk factors for depression throughout the transition to parenthood.

Keywords: Depression; Paternal; Postpartum; Pregnancy; Prevalence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors