Fatherhood and mental health
depression, parenthood, postpartum, stepfathers, social work
When people think about depressed parents, it’s almost instinctive to think about post-partum moms. Certainly, post-partum depression is a serious issue, but my co-author Garrett Pace and I wanted to go one step further. We asked if moms and dads are at similar risk for depression based on the kinds of parental roles they take on (like a step-parent or residential biological parent). Our work, which appeared in the journal Social Work, found some interesting gender differences. For example, stepfathers have a high risk for depression, particularly if they have a biological child from another relationship who they are not currently living with. Depression for stepfathers is even more likely when they have a child with their new partner, a so-called “cement child.” As we have spoken to reporters, colleagues, students, friends, and others about our findings, we almost invariably get asked this question: “Do dads get depressed, too?”
Original Publication Citation
Shafer, K. (2015). “Fatherhood and Depression.” Oxford University Press Research Blog.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Shafer, Kevin, "Fatherhood and mental health" (2015). Faculty Publications. 4381.
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
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