The authors declare that there is no competing interest regarding the publication of this article.
YWK was the lead writer on the manuscript, and worked on the content development, statistical analyses and data collection, AML contributed to design of the study, formulation the framework of the study, guiding data analysis, co-writing the and co-edited the manuscript and overseeing the implementation of the whole study. CYC contributed on data analyses and data collection. DYTF contributed to data analysis, CPL and KYL contributed significantly to recruitment of subjects and data collection. CSKT contributed to the framework of study and provided guidance on the development of the content of the manuscript.
There is emerging evidence of the significance of paternal mental health problems among the expectant fathers during the antenatal and postnatal period. The present study aims at determining the prevalence of paternal perinatal anxiety and identifying its risk factors among the fathers.
A total of 622 expectant fathers were recruited in Hong Kong. The expectant fathers were assessed using standardized and validated psychological instruments on three time points including early pregnancy, late pregnancy and 6 week postnatal. Independent samples t-test, one way ANOVA, Pearson’s correlation and multiple linear regression were used to examine the effect of hypothesized risk factors. Hierarchical multiple regression and mixed effect model were also conducted with potential confounding factors controlled for.
Results showed that a significant proportion of expectant fathers experienced anxiety during the perinatal period. Low self-esteem and poor social support were found to be risk factors of paternal anxiety across pregnancy to postnatal period. Work-family conflict could significantly predict paternal anxiety in the pregnancy period.
The present study points to the need for greater research and clinical attention to paternal anxiety, given that it is a highly prevalent problem and could be detrimental to their partner’s well-being and children development. The present findings contributes to the theoretical understanding of the prevalence and risk factors of paternal perinatal anxiety and have implications for the design of effective identification, prevention, and interventions of these clinical problems.