How to be a good dad
A new report has found that dads are more likely to have high levels of stress, depression and anxiety, and have poorer relationships with family members, compared to the general population.
Dr Alison D’Agostino, from the University of Sydney, said stress levels were higher in fathers than in mothers, with about 40 per cent of dads reporting high levels.
“I don’t think we can talk about stress in a good way, we can’t, we don’t have a good idea of how stressful dads are,” she said.
“It’s not just stressful, it’s stressful in the workplace and stress in the home and that’s the main focus.”
Dr D’Arcy said stress could be linked to negative emotions, including anger and stress, as well as anxiety.
“We know that men who have high anxiety levels have a higher risk of depression and stress,” she told RN Breakfast.
“But what we don’ know is what the impact is of stress on women and their families.”
She said it could be that the stressors of parenting could increase the risk of a range of health problems, including anxiety, depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“What’s more, there’s also a possibility that men are more stressed out than women, they are more anxious, and that stress is more likely if there’s a conflict in the relationship,” she explained.
“And then that can make women more vulnerable to stress.”
Dr Dr D’Agnostino said more research needed to be done to understand how to help fathers cope with stress.
“Our research has found dads to be more likely than mothers to be experiencing stress, and stress is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease, depression,” she noted.
“So we need to be thinking about ways of helping fathers cope in the context of a caring and caring relationship, and also ways of coping in a healthy way.”
Dr Alison also said the current research had been very limited, but had some valuable insights.
“If you are a dad, you might think that your role is to help the baby.
But if you are not, it might be important to talk to your baby about the problems in their life,” she observed.”
That could help you to understand what it is that’s making them feel anxious or depressed, and what might be contributing to that.”
The ABC contacted Dr D`Agostinos research group to ask if they had any specific advice on how to cope with stressful life events.