Date of Conferral
Rachel L. Piferi
Postpartum depression (PPD) has been identified as a mental health condition that impacts women, men, and families. PPD has been shown to be prevalent in both women and men following the birth of a child; it has been associated with marital conflict, insecure attachment, and poor infant-child outcomes. While PPD has been studied extensively in women, paternal PPD often goes understudied, undetected, and untreated. The purpose of the present research was to explore the lived experiences of men who have experienced PPD through the lens of self-perception theory using a qualitative phenomenological study. Six men who have experienced PPD shared their lived experiences with PPD, including how they recognized they had a problem and what alerted them to get help. Data were analyzed using coding and the development of themes; the findings for this study showed that men's lived experiences with PPD included feelings of sadness, anger, fear, confusion, and being in denial. The men tended to not seek help for their experiences of PPD, and they were not previously informed about the disorder of paternal PPD. The present study provides a better understanding of PPD for fathers, information for healthcare providers who deal with expectant fathers, and significant others such as mothers of the child, and other family members and coworkers regarding how to respond to paternal PPD. Better understanding of PPD will provide fathers with more of the support they need to successfully make the journey through PPD.