Paternal Perinatal Experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic : A Framework Analysis of the Reddit Forum Predaddit Cameron, Emily E.; Simpson, Kaeley M.; Pierce, Shayna K.; Penner, Kailey E.; Beyak, Alanna; Gomez, Irlanda; Bowes, John-Michael; Reynolds, Kristin A.; Tomfohr-Madsen, Lianne; Roos, Leslie E.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, new parents were disproportionately affected by public health restrictions changing service accessibility and increasing stressors. However, minimal research has examined pandemic-related stressors and experiences of perinatal fathers in naturalistic anonymous settings. An important and novel way parents seek connection and information is through online forums, which increased during COVID-19. The current study qualitatively analyzed the experiences of perinatal fathers from September to December 2020 through the Framework Analytic Approach to identify unmet support needs during COVID-19 using the online forum predaddit on reddit. Five main themes in the thematic framework included forum use, COVID-19, psychosocial distress, family functioning, and child health and development, each with related subthemes. Findings highlight the utility of predaddit as a source of information for, and interactions of, fathers to inform mental health services. Overall, fathers used the forum to engage with other fathers during a time of social isolation and for support during the transition to parenthood. This manuscript highlights the unmet support needs of fathers during the perinatal period and the importance of including fathers in perinatal care, implementing routine perinatal mood screening for both parents, and developing programs to support fathers during this transition to promote family wellbeing.
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