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Factors associated with new onset of father-to-infant bonding failure from 1 to 6 months postpartum: an adjunct study of the Japan environment and children’s study



This study aimed to determine the factors associated with new onset father-to-infant (paternal) bonding failure from 1 to 6 months postpartum.


This was a prospective birth-cohort study. Paternal bonding failure was evaluated using the Japanese version of the Mother-to-Infant Bonding Scale (MIBS-J) at 1 and 6 months postpartum. For cut-off scores, overall bonding failure, MIBS-J total scores ≥ 5; subscale for lack of affection, MIBS-J_LA scores ≥ 3; and subscale for anger/rejection, MIBS-J_AR scores ≥ 3 were used in this study. Multivariate regression analysis was performed to analyze relative variables.


We analyzed 872 fathers. The frequency of new-onset overall bonding failure, lack of affection, and anger/rejection was 5.6%, 4.9%, and 6.3%, respectively. For new-onset overall bonding failure, significant associated factors were paternal childcare leave (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.192; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.203–8.469), paternal new-onset depression symptoms (AOR 3.181; 95% Cl 1.311–7.716), and maternal new-onset overall bonding failure (AOR 4.595; 95% Cl 1.119–18.866). For new-onset lack of affection, significant associated factors were preterm birth (AOR 4.189; 95% Cl 1.473–11.913) and paternal new-onset depression symptoms (AOR 3.290; 95% Cl 1.294–8.362). For new-onset anger and rejection, significant associated factors were paternal childcare leave (AOR 3.142; 95% Cl 1.138–8.676), paternal new-onset depression symptoms (AOR 2.829; 95% Cl 1.133–7.068), and maternal new-onset anger/rejection (AOR 7.064; 95% Cl 2.300–21.700).


The factors associated with new-onset paternal bonding failure from 1 to 6 months postpartum were paternal childcare leave, preterm birth, paternal postpartum depression symptoms, and maternal bonding failure.

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Data availability

Data are unsuitable for public deposition owing to ethical restrictions and the legal framework of Japan. It is prohibited by the Act on the Protection of Personal Information (Act No. 57 of 30 May 2003, amendment on 9 September 2015) to publicly deposit data containing personal information. Ethical Guidelines for Epidemiological Research enforced by the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare also restricts the open sharing of epidemiologic data. All inquiries regarding access to data should be sent to: pj.og.sein@ne-scej. The person responsible for handling enquiries sent to this e-mail address is Dr Shoji F. Nakayama, JECS Programme Office, National Institute for Environmental Studies.


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The authors are grateful to all study participants, the research coordinators, Ms Miwa Kimura, Ms Atsuko Keino, Ms Rieko Tomizawa, Mr Jun Memesawa, and the members of the JECS Miyagi Regional Centre for their expertise and guidance.


This study was funded by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. The findings and conclusions of this article are solely the opinions of the authors, and do not represent the official views of the above government. This adjunct study was supported by JSPS KAKENHI (C) Grant no. 24592457, the Mental Health Okamoto Memorial Foundation, and Fukushima Research Fund for Doctors in Specific Departments Grant no. R1-1.

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Authors and Affiliations



The authors’ contributions are as follows: TS, TO, HM, and HN designed the study. TSTN, TO, HM, KS, MI, TA, KN, SK, NY, and HN conducted the study. TS, TN, and HN analyzed the data. TS, TN, TO, HM, KS, MM, MI, TN, MS, JS, TA, KN, SK, NY, and HN interpreted the findings. TS and HN wrote the manuscript. All authors approved of the final draft.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hidekazu Nishigori.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

The JECS protocol was reviewed and approved by the Ministry of the Environment’s Institutional Review Board on Epidemiological Studies (no. 100910001) and the Ethics Committees of all the participating institutions.

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Written informed consent was obtained from all the participants.

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Suzuki, T., Nishigori, T., Obara, T. et al. Factors associated with new onset of father-to-infant bonding failure from 1 to 6 months postpartum: an adjunct study of the Japan environment and children’s study. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 58, 1603–1624 (2023).

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