Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)




Wendy Sword


Susan Jack



Committee Member

Olive Wahoush


Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mental health condition present in 13% of new mothers. It is a serious public health issue that profoundly impacts the health of mothers, their children, and their partners. While the short- and long-term implications of maternal mental health for children’s growth and development have been well documented, little has been written about the impact of maternal PPD on partners. In particular, the effects of PPD on new fathers have received little attention. This qualitative descriptive study examined, through the sharing of photographs by participants and in-depth interviews (n = 10), the experience of the transition to parenthood for first-time fathers whose partners have PPD. It also compared their expectations of fatherhood with the lived reality of the experience and explored fathers’ perceptions of, and access to, health services and supports. The main themes that emerged from the data analysis were: From two to three, Connecting with baby, PPD and the partner relationship, Heightened involvement with baby, and Available and desired supports. Sub-themes that captured more specific patterns in the data also were identified. The study findings have implications for establishing best practices that are inclusive of support and education for partners.

McMaster University Library

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