Male parents who are more involved in caring for their infant children shortly after birth, are less likely to suffer depression years later, says a recent study published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychiatry. Researchers at California State University, Long Beach conducted home interviews with 881 low-income, ethnically and racially diverse male parents in five different states in the US, one month after the birth of a child, evaluating their responses on three parenting indicators: time spent with the infant, parenting self-efficacy and material support for the infant. The study found that greater the amount of time fathers spent with their newborns, the less likely are they to report depressive symptoms in following years.
“In our paper, we suggest a few reasons that greater father involvement in parenting would lead to less depression in male parents. For example, fathers who are more involved during infancy may feel more competent as parents and be more satisfied in their role as parents over time, and this could contribute to lower depressive symptoms,” says Dr. Olajide N. Bamishigbin Jr, assistant professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach.