Patterns and Predictors of Depressive Symptoms among Jamaican Fathers of Newborns

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Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology

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Background Approximately 10% of fathers in the Cultural West (i.e., US, Europe, and Australia) experience depression. We broaden the cultural scope of paternal depression research by investigating the prevalence and predictors of depressive symptoms among Jamaican fathers. Methods The present research draws upon structured interviews with 3425 fathers of newborn children participating in a Jamaican birth cohort study—JA Kids—and represents one of the largest sample sizes of any study on postnatal depression among fathers worldwide. This sample of fathers participated from July to September 2011, and represents approximately 30% of all men who became fathers during that time in Jamaica. Fathers answered questions about sociodemographic background, relationship status and quality, social support, health, expectations and views of a partner’s pregnancy, and the ten-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Results Analyses reveal that 9.1% (95% CI 8.1–10.1) of these Jamaican fathers of newborns had EPDS scores of 10 or higher, indicative of possible depression. Results suggest that educational attainment was not related to EPDS scores, though higher indices of material wealth (e.g., refrigerator and vehicle) were weakly, negatively related to EDS scores. Paternal age was also weakly negatively predictive of EDS scores. Whereas relationship status was unrelated to depressive symptoms, relationship quality negatively predicted depressive symptoms. Several other measures of social support (lacking a close circle of friends, fewer family, or friends to help in times of trouble) were also associated with higher EPDS scores. Conclusions We interpret these findings in light of existing work on paternal depression, including the importance of social context and support.


Fatherhood; Depression; Paternal depression; Depressive symptoms; Edinburgh postnatal depression scale


Psychiatry and Psychology



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