Fathers' perinatal mental health: Impacts, interventions and supports

Holly Rominov
Background. Fathers' perinatal mental health problems have far reaching implications not only for themselves, but also for their partner, their couple relationship, and their children. The primary objective of this thesis by publication was to generate evidence to inform the development of policy and intervention efforts to promote fathers' mental health in the perinatal period. The aims of the research were four-fold: first, to determine the extent to which fathers' experiences of mental
more » ... problems impact parenting and their children; second, to undertake a systematic review into interventions targeting fathers' perinatal mental health; third, to explore fathers' support needs in the perinatal period; and finally, to investigate midwives' perceptions and experiences of working with fathers. Method. A multi-method approach was adopted across four studies. The first study used data from a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of Australian children and their families (N = 3,741 fathers) and explored mechanisms that link fathers' postnatal distress to later child outcomes. Second, a systematic review of existing research detailing interventions targeting expectant and new fathers' mental health was conducted. Third, fathers' perceived support needs to accessing mental health and parenting support in the perinatal period were explored through qualitative interviews with fathers (N = 20). Finally, midwives' perceptions and experiences of engaging fathers in the perinatal period were surveyed via a national online survey (N = 106) and qualitative interviews (N = 13). Results. In Study 1 (Chapter 6), results indicated that fathers' postnatal distress and low parenting self-efficacy (PSE) were associated with higher levels of fathers' parenting hostility and lower levels of parenting consistency when children were aged 4-5 years. In turn, this was associated with children's emotional and behavioural difficulties when aged 8-9 years. Additionally, fathers' levels of parenting warmth when children [...]
doi:10.4226/66/5a9dbe793362c fatcat:snmzik32mbendkwdfna5lwxcxa