UNLV researchers further uncover male experiences with postpartum depression

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The Carol C. Harter Building Complex stands Midwest of UNLV Campus, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.

At UNLV, two professors are furthering the research of a study of postpartum depression in men. In a study that has just begun, UNLV Associate Professors Brandon Eddy and Lawrance Jackson are looking for Black fathers who have experienced postpartum depression to represent under-researched areas.

When Eddy had his first child in 2010, his wife experienced a postpartum disorder, and he began his study of the disorder.  

“What blew my mind is when I learned that men could get postpartum depression,” Eddy said. “As I dove more into the research, I found out it’s not just hormones. It’s a combination of factors.”

How the relationship between one’s partner, the temperament of the baby, if a parent has a history of depression and more are all factors that play into postpartum depression (PPD). Eddy narrows it down to a mixture of biological and social factors. 

When Eddy first began his doctorate research program, he noticed the lack of research on the males experience with PPD and the possible differences and similarities to mothers. Upon further investigation, he could not find such data. No one had looked at the fathers experience with PPD. 

When Eddy conducted his research on PPD, he was able to gather 27 meaningful experiences, but what he did not expect was how difficult it was when it was time to publish his study.  

“It was tough to get it published because a lot of people don’t believe it’s a real thing,” Eddy said. “There seemed to be a bias against it. We have this notion in society that PPD and pregnancy belongs to women.” 

Before it got published, Eddy and his colleagues were going to present the data at a conference. The viewers of the findings did not receive it all too well and many suggested giving it another name or simply labeling it as depression.

“That blew me away,” Eddy said. 

Once Eddy was able to find a journal to publish his findings, the study received lots of attention. Eddy began receiving emails by fathers who praised the study as it helped validate their experiences as fathers. 

Jackson and Eddy teamed up to combine Eddy’s expertise in the postpartum disorders in men and Jackson’s expertise in racial discrepancies and equalities. 

“We were trying to figure out how we can combine some of these experiences to make a larger impact,” Jackson said. “That’s when we can come up with the idea of looking at postpartum, not only in men, but in Black men” 

Postpartum in men is already an under-researched area, according to both researchers, but postpartum in Black men is an even lower researched area, Jackson explains. 

“It’s hard to get participants of color,” Jackson said. “Part of that is because of their lack of resources and lack of access.” 

According to Jackson, for people of color to spend half an hour to an hour doing a research study, when they’re working or have other responsibilities, it’s challenging. Those more willing to participate in research have more resources to give them more time  

There are many unhealthy narratives placed on Black men, most notable that Black fathers are not present, which is false according to Jackson. They are present in their child’s lives when they’re available, according to Legacy.

“The most challenging aspect about a child birth for Black men is that they’re not the one carrying the baby for nine months,” Jackson said. “The kid might just really want mom because that’s how they eat, that can create a negative narrative of ‘I’m not good enough,’ or ‘I’m not important.’” 

This can further reinforce negative narratives that have an impact on fathers self-esteem and their moods possibly leading to symptoms of PPD.  

This study would create a sense of awareness and provide resources that can be beneficial for underrepresented communities. It’s also important to Jackson to ensure that participants aren’t being researched on, but a part of the research as there is a distrust of some studies that have been conducted in the past. 

Currently, the study is calling for Black fathers who recently had a child within the last 12 to 18 months. This study has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board, UNLV

experienced postpartum depression to participate in a research study.

Participants will be interviewed about their experience with postpartum depression. Each participant will complete a brief demographic survey and an individual interview. The entire process will take approximately 30-45 minutes. Each participant will receive a $20 payment upon completion of the interview. Interviews will be conducted via Zoom video or via telephone.

If you are interested in participating, please contact: Dr. Brandon Eddy at brandon.eddy@unlv.nevada.edu, Dr. Lawrence Jackson at Lawrence.jackson@unlv.edu or

Darlyn Magana at magand3@unlv.nevada.edu.

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