A new look into fathers has been taken in the study.
A new look into fathers has been taken in the study.

STAYING SILENT: More research needed into male DV

A Townsville-based study has found there is a lack of information for new fathers suffering depression or those who have been victims of domestic violence.

James Cook University PhD candidate Dr Jasleen Chhabra conducted the 18-month study with her colleagues Wendi Li and Brett McDermott.

Dr Chhabra said the phenomenon of paternal peri-natal depression was under-researched.

"Like women, men also show signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety in this peri-natal period," Dr Chhabra said.

Dr Chhabra said men often felt the need to hide depression, resulting in physical illness, alcohol and drug abuse, and domestic violence.

Dr Jasleen Chhabra.
Dr Jasleen Chhabra.

"The findings suggest that maternal depression, marital problems, and parental stress over money, coping with the new baby or other lifestyle changes are important risk factors for fathers' mental health in the peri-natal period," she said.

Dr Chhabra said researchers found risk factors unique to men. "Gender role stress; the social pressure for men to perform as the provider, to be physically and sexually competent, to be able to operate in a competitive world and be emotionally open was one factor.

"We found that men not having the same expectations of pregnancy as their partner was another and men suffering domestic violence in their relationships was a third unique factor."

Dr Chhabra said there wasn't much research available on fathers-to-be who had been victims of DV

"The fathers I've spoken to say police officers and social workers don't believe them when they initially bring it up.

"DV is something I want to talk to them about and I believe there needs to be more focus on it."

Dr Chhabra is now collecting data for a new online study into mental health of fathers during pregnancy and after birth.

Click here if you'd like to be involved.


If you are affected by issues mentioned in this story, help is available:


Originally published as STAYING SILENT: More research needed into male DV