Paternal postpartum depression (PPD) has received little attention compared with maternal prenatal and postpartum depression, despite research reporting that paternal PPD concerns a substantial number of fathers. History of depression and antenatal depression have been identified as important PPD’s risk factors, underlining the continuity of depressive symptoms during the transition to parenthood. However, only few studies have focused on the evolution of depressive symptoms with longitudinal research design. The present study aims at analyzing the longitudinal trajectories of depressive symptoms from the third trimester of pregnancy to 1 year after childbirth. One hundred and twenty-six first-time fathers completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale at four time points (7-8 months of pregnancy, 40 days, 5-6 months, and 12 months after childbirth). Data were analyzed throughout latent growth mixture modeling. Latent growth mixture modeling analysis indicated a three-class model as the optimal solution. The three-class solution included a trajectory of low, stable depressive symptoms across the four time points (resilient, 52%); a trajectory of moderate, relatively stable depressive symptomatology (distress, 37%); and a trajectory of emergent clinical depression following a pattern of high depressive symptoms (emergent depression, 11%). This study allowed to identify different subpopulation within the sample, distinguishing among mental well-being, emotional distress, and high-risk conditions when—1 year after childbirth—fathers report the highest scores to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. These results underline the importance to analyze fathers’ well-being over the time during the transition to fatherhood.
- depressive symptoms, postpartum depression, first-time fathers, latent growth mixture modeling