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Despite growing interest in men's perinatal mental health, we still know
little about whether becoming a new father is associated with increases
in psychological distress.
To use prospective longitudinal data to investigate whether becoming a
first-time expectant (partner pregnant) and/or new father (child <1
year) is associated with increases in depression and anxiety.
Men were aged 20–24 years at baseline (n = 1162). Levels
of depression and anxiety were measured at four time points over 12
years. Over this time, 88 men were expectant fathers, 108 men were new
fathers and 626 men remained non-fathers.
Longitudinal mixed models showed no significant increase in depression or
anxiety as a function of expectant or new fatherhood, as compared with
Our findings suggest that, generally, expectant and new fathers are not
at greater risk of depression or anxiety. Future epidemiological research
should continue to identify men who are most (and least) at risk to focus
resources and assistance most effectively.
Research has reported that pregnant women and mothers become forgetful.
However, in these studies, women are not recruited prior to pregnancy,
samples are not representative and studies are underpowered.
The current study sought to determine whether pregnancy and motherhood
are associated with brief or long-term cognitive deterioration using a
representative sample and measuring cognition during and before the onset
of pregnancy and motherhood.
Women aged 20–24 years were recruited prospectively and assessed in 1999,
2003 and 2007. Seventy-six women were pregnant at follow-up assessments,
188 became mothers between study waves and 542 remained nulliparous.
No significant differences in cognitive change were found as a function
of pregnancy or motherhood, although late pregnancy was associated with
deterioration on one of four tests of memory and cognition.
The hypothesis that pregnancy and motherhood are associated with
persistent cognitive deterioration was not supported. Previous negative
findings may be a result of biased sampling.
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