WEDNESDAY, July 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of depression is 4.4 percent among fathers of children age 15 months or younger attending a well-child care clinic visit, according to a research letter published online July 23 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Erika R. Cheng, Ph.D., from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues examined data for parents of children aged 15 months or younger from the Child Health Improvement Through Computer Automation (CHICA), which administers a patient-tailored, 20-item prescreening form (PSF) to parents in the clinic waiting room to screen for pediatric health conditions. The PSF was modified during this period to include items that identified who answered the PSF and attended the clinic visit. A modified three-item version of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was administered to assess maternal postpartum depression.

Parent responses from 9,572 clinic visits were analyzed. The researchers found that fathers attended 30.8 percent of these visits and were PSF respondents at 8.4 percent of visits. Overall, 4.4 percent of the fathers who answered the PSF screened positive for depression, which was comparable to the 5.0 of mothers who screened positive. Fathers accounted for 11.7 percent of all parents who screened positive for depression.

“This finding underscores opportunities to educate physicians about the importance of depression in both parents and to develop strategies to integrate screening tools into routine care,” the authors write.

Two authors are co-inventors of the CHICA system. One author is co-owner of Digital Health Solutions.

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