Developing an intervention for paternal perinatal depression: An international Delphi study

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Background Around 10% of fathers suffer from depression during the perinatal period. There is a need to develop interventions which address the specific needs of fathers in order to reduce the burden on men and their families. This study aimed to achieve expert consensus about the components of a CBT-based intervention for paternal perinatal depression using the Delphi method. Methods Ten international experts, recruited through purposive sampling, completed an online survey. This included an initial round of open-ended questions about the potential components and targets of an intervention, followed by a second round of scale questions to identify components with the greatest agreement across experts. Results Free-text responses from round 1 covered a range of social, psychological and behavioural factors which could be targeted in an intervention for paternal depression. These were analysed using thematic analysis, and the resulting 82 codes were presented to respondents in round 2 as summary statements. 42 (52%) items reached consensus to include in an intervention. Limitations Only two rounds were used, reducing opportunities to revise responses; one question produced very divergent types of responses which could not easily be summarised; some have argued there may be issues with representativeness of small samples of experts. Conclusions Experts highlighted the importance of a strengths-based approach, with content framed around learning about fatherhood rather than overcoming symptoms of depression, including a focus on the partner relationship, understanding infant development, and social connections. These findings will contribute to the development of an intervention for paternal perinatal depression.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Paternal mental health
  • Perinatal mental health
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Delphi study


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