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Effects of male postpartum depression on father-infant interaction: the mediating role of face recognition

Koch, S., De Pascalis, L., Vivian, F., Meurer Renner, A., Murray, L. and Arteche, A. (2019) Effects of male postpartum depression on father-infant interaction: the mediating role of face recognition. Infant Mental Health Journal. ISSN 0163-9641

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/imhj.21769

Abstract/Summary

It is estimated that postpartum depression affects up to 25% of men. Despite such high prevalence, the majority of studies on postpartum depression are focused on mothers, and the role of paternal depression and its effects on infant development have been overlooked by researchers and clinicians. The present study aimed to fill this gap by investigating the effect of paternal postpartum depression on father–infant interactions. In addition, we examined whether differences in face recognition mediated the effects of paternal postpartum depression on father–infant interactions. A total of 61 father–infant dyads (17 postpartum depression, 44 controls) took part in the study. Results revealed that compared to controls, fathers with postpartum depression had a worse pattern of interaction with their infants on measures of responsiveness, mood, and sensitivity; they also had greater difficulty in recognizing happy adult faces, but greater facility in recognizing sad adult faces. Depressed fathers attributed greater intensities to sad adult and infant faces. The tendency to attribute greater intensity to sad adult faces was confirmed as a partial mediator of the effect of paternal postpartum depression on measures of father responsiveness and as a full mediator of the effects of paternal depression on father sensitivity. Clinical implications and suggestions for further studies are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:80139
Publisher:Wiley

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