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Parental Depression Risk Highest in First Year After Birth

History of depression, younger age, and higher social deprivation may increase risk

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of depression among parents is highest in the first year after a child is born, with history of depression, younger parental age, and increased social deprivation linked to a higher risk of depression, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

In a prospective cohort study, Shreya Davé, Ph.D., of the University College London, and colleagues evaluated primary care records from more than 350 general practices in The Health Improvement Network database between 1993 and 2007, assessing 86,957 mother, father, and child triads.

The investigators found that the overall incidence of depression from the birth of a child up to age 12 years was higher for mothers compared to fathers (7.53 versus 2.69 per 100 person-years). Depression was highest in the first year postpartum, at 13.93 per 100 person-years among mothers and 3.56 per 100 person-years among fathers. Lower parental age at the birth of a child, a history of depression, and higher social deprivation were all linked to an increased likelihood of parental depression.

"Parents are at highest risk for depression in the first year after the birth of their child," the authors write. "Parents with a history of depression, younger parents, and those from deprived areas are particularly vulnerable to depression. There is a need for appropriate recognition and management of parental depression in primary care."

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