Research Article| Volume 34, ISSUE 2, P43-49, April 2020

Paternal depressive symptoms during the early postpartum period and the associated factors following the implementation of the two-child policy in China

Published:February 10, 2020DOI:


      • The prevalence of paternal depressive symptoms did not increase significantly during the first three days postpartum.
      • Fathers' age and average sleep time per night are positively correlated with the paternal depressive symptoms.
      • Fathers' educational level, planned pregnancy, parity, and self-efficacy may protect fathers from depressive symptoms.
      • Supporting fathers with regular health consultations is necessary to manage postpartum depression.



      To evaluate the prevalence of paternal depressive symptoms during the first three days of childbirth, as well as the associated factors, following the implementation of the two-child policy in China in 2015, which allows couples to have two children in the Chinese mainland.


      A cross-sectional study was conducted among 318 fathers. Paternal depressive symptoms and self-efficacy of fathers were screened using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the General Self-Efficacy Scale, respectively. In addition, basic information of all parents and neonates was collected. Univariate analysis, binary logistic regression analysis, and principal component analysis (PCA) were used to identify the relationship between paternal depressive symptoms and its associated factors.


      Twenty-two percentage of fathers had depressive symptoms during the first three days of childbirth. Binary logistic regression analysis revealed that older fathers, those who slept for more than 8 h per night, or were dissatisfied with their living conditions were more susceptible to developing the symptoms. On the contrary, protective factors such as the educational level of fathers, planned pregnancy, prenatal guidance, having the second-born child, and higher self-efficacy were found to reduce the development of paternal depressive symptoms. PCA showed that the main components that influenced the paternal depressive symptoms were parental age and parity.


      The prevalence of paternal depressive symptoms during the postpartum period did not increase significantly after the implementation of the two-child policy in China. However, focusing on the associated factors is necessary in order to manage postpartum depression during the early postpartum period.


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