Inclusion & Paternal Mental Health

Research Paper Title

Paternal Mental Health During the Perinatal Period: A Qualitative Systematic Review.


To examine fathers’ experiences and needs associated with mental health during the perinatal period.

Qualitative studies were meta-synthesised using the steps outlined by Sandelowski and Barroso.

Six databases (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Scopus and ProQuest) were searched for qualitative studies from each database’s inception to 24 June 2019.


Studies were critically appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. Qualitative data were extracted, meta-summarised, then meta-synthesised.


Fourteen studies were included and four themes were identified:

  1. Negative feelings and psychological difficulties;
  2. Role strain and role conflict with multiple sources;
  3. Coping strategies that buffered negative feelings and psychological difficulties; and
  4. Support needs to enhance mental health.


Fathers reported poor mental health and expressed needs to enhance their mental health across the perinatal period. Future studies can focus specifically on paternal mental health. The development of theory-guided, family inclusive, technology-based healthcare services are needed to manage mental health. Healthcare providers can promote positive mental health to prepare fathers, increasing their awareness to manage their mental health and to seek timely help.


Problem-focused coping (i.e. support and problem-solving with partners and childcare involvement) helped fathers to buffer their negative feelings and psychological difficulties. Future studies should focus on paternal mental health rather than on general fathering experiences. Healthcare providers should focus on promoting positive mental health and well-being. Policymakers should create awareness on paternal mental health across the perinatal period.


Shorey, S. & Chan. V. (2020) Paternal Mental Health During the Perinatal Period: A Qualitative Systematic Review. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 76(6), pp.1307-1319. doi: 10.1111/jan.14325. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

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