Psychological Distress, Alcohol Use, Fatigue, Sleepiness, and Sleep Quality: An Exploratory Study Among Men Whose Partners Are Admitted to a Residential Early Parenting Service

Karen Wynter, Nathan Wilson, Patsy Thean, Bei Bei, Jane Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: In Australia, residential early parenting services (REPS) provide structured, psycho-educational programs for unsettled infant behaviour and associated maternal difficulties. Thus far, most studies have focused on the psychological functioning of women admitted to these services; few studies have investigated the mental health of their male partners and none have used standardised measures to assess alcohol use, fatigue, sleepiness, and sleep quality. The aim of this exploratory survey was to assess mental health problems, alcohol use, and sleep-related functioning among men whose partners and infants were admitted to a privately funded REPS. Method: Male partners of women admitted to an REPS in Melbourne, Australia, during a 5-month period completed surveys including self-report measures of depression, anxiety, stress, irritability, alcohol use, fatigue, sleepiness, and sleep quality. Surveys were completed by 53 men; mean age was 36years. Mean scores on standardised instruments were compared with normative or comparison data. The proportions of participants scoring in the clinical range on each measure are reported. Results: Mean scores on measures of stress, irritability, fatigue, sleepiness, and sleep quality were significantly worse than norms for healthy adults. Fifty-one percent of men screened positive for alcohol misuse; 53% reported clinically significant fatigue and 82% scored in the clinical range for poor sleep quality. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that men whose partners are admitted to an REPS may have impaired psychological and sleep-related functioning, which might affect interactions with their partners and infants. Service enhancement to assess and address the needs of men is indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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