Call for Bristol dads willing to share the ups and downs of early parenthood

November 27 2018

Researchers from the University of Bristol are looking for local dads from Bishopston and Redland to help with a new study exploring their early parenting experiences.

Thanks to a new £280,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust, researchers are taking a unique look at the role of fathers and their parenting when their partner has experienced mental health difficulties.

Although many of the 200 dads sought will come from Bristol’s Children of the 90s study, researchers want to recruit more fathers of six to 12-month-old babies from the Bristol area whose partner may or may not have experienced mental health difficulties during or after the pregnancy.

Recruited dads will be asked to take part in a range of activities, including keeping a diary to capture everyday activities with their child, use wearable technology to capture interactions during meal or play time, fill in a questionnaire and take part in interviews about their experiences of being a parent.

Dr Iryna Culpin from the Centre for Academic Mental Health at the University of Bristol commented:

“Our three-year study will help influence a much-neglected area of mental health research – how dads contribute to the wellbeing of family life and their role in parenting when mothers experience mental health difficulties. We know that mothers’ mental health is important for child development, and this new study will help us find out more about the role of fathers and their experiences of parenting in such families.

“In Bristol we have a wealth of health data from volunteers in the Children of the 90s study and we may find that dads who come forward will become valuable assets for future health research.”

Matthew Moriarty, aged 26, has been taking part in the Children of the 90s study since birth and is has just welcomed his second child. He said: “I’ve been taking part in health research since I was born and think it can be really helpful. There’s a lot of advice out there for new mums but it would be beneficial for dads, especially if they are separated from their partner. For anyone thinking about becoming a research subject I would say just go for it – you have nothing to lose and will be helping future generations of new dads.”

Fathers who wish to take part can contact Dr Iryna Culpin, Centre for Academic Mental Health, Bristol Medical School, Oakfield House, BS8 2BN. E-mail: iryna.culpin@bristol.ac.uk or call: 0117 331 0162.