Dads are losing friends when becoming a father, study reveals

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
A growing number of fathers lose contact with their friends until their children grow up and leave home [Photo: Getty]

An increasing number of fathers end up losing contact with close friends in the first year of welcoming a child, a new study has revealed.

According to research conducted by the Movember Foundation, one in five men no longer meet up with their pals in the first 12 months after becoming a dad.

Findings indicate that 33% of fathers without a close group of friends suffer from high levels of stress in comparison to 23% of those who have at least one good pal.

In further evidence that parenthood can negatively impact fathers just as much as mothers, 23% of participants admitted that they feel isolated from the pressure of fatherhood - something young men in particular struggle with.

Approximately 40% of 18 to 35-year-olds said they feel alone in comparison to 11% of dads over the age of 50. While a further 25% of new dads said they experience high levels of stress compared to only 17% of older fathers who reported similar feelings.

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But it’s the quality of friendships which is crucial, as those who are content with their group of pals are less likely to feel alone.

The study analysed the responses of 4,000 men across the UK, USA, Canada and Australia to investigate the emotional impact of becoming a dad for the first time.

It's not just mothers who struggle with isolation after the birth of a child [Photo: Getty]

The news comes ahead of Men’s Health Week (10 to 16 June) which aims to break the taboo around mental health.

According to recent research, a man dies every minute by suicide on a global scale. In the UK alone, 75% of suicides are men.

“Becoming a father can be one of life's most rewarding experiences but until recently it hasn't been acknowledged how challenging that transition can be for new dads, especially with regard to mental health,” Movember CEO, Owen Sharp, said.

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“Our research shows that having close friends who are looking out for you can act as a buffer against these stresses,” he continued. “Spending time with friends allows you to recharge your batteries which is good for you and your family.”

Last year, the NHS announced that mental health screenings and treatment will soon be rolled out for new fathers with partners who are suffering from anxiety, psychosis and postnatal depression.

One in 10 men are affected by mental health issues after welcoming a child, for further information and support please visit the Mind website.

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