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Study at UI Health Suggests Racial Disparity for Post-partum Depression in Fathers

African American father cradling his young infant

A pilot study of post-partum depression among fathers suggests that they would likely benefit from being screened for the condition. The study was conducted at the UI Health Two-Generation Clinic, which provides comprehensive primary care to women and their children, using the same screening tool used to detect post-partum depression in mothers. Nearly 90% of the study participants were from racial and ethnic groups that experience social determinants of health that often worsen mental health. The study found that about 30% of the study participants tested positive for post-partum depression, compared to a rate of 8% to 13% seen in previous studies.

Dr. Sam Wainwright, assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and lead author on the study, noted that the study arose from the experiences of clinic staff who started asking fathers how they were feeling. “Many dads are stressed. They’re scared. They’re struggling with balancing work and parental and partner responsibilities,” he said. “Men are often not doing well, but no one asks them about it.”

The study received coverage in a wide range of news outlets, including WBEZ, USA Today, Deseret News and Axios.