Depressive Symptoms and Father Involvement in Canada: Evidence from a National Study


parenting behaviour, family, children, fathering, fathers


Paternal involvement in instrumental and emotional parenting behaviours benefits families and children. While fathers have become more involved in childrearing over the past several decades, significant variability in paternal involvement with children remains. Yet, little work has focused on the facilitators and barriers to involved fathering and work in the Canadian context is particularly sparse. This study focuses on one potentially important factor, depressive symptoms, and its relationship with multiple dimensions of father involvement among Canadian men. Using national quantitative data from the Survey of Canadian Fathers‐Enquête des Pères Canadiens (n = 2,099) and ordinary least squares regression models, we focus on the relationship between depressive symptoms and six measures of fathering behavior. Results indicate that depression is significantly associated with most behaviours, but these results diverge from studies in other countries and contexts. Overall, our findings underscore the importance of context‐specific studies on parenting and the need for additional work on fathering and mental health in Canada.

Original Publication Citation

Shafer, K. & Renick, A.J.* (2020). “Depressive Symptoms and Father Involvement in Canada: Evidence from a National Sample.” Canadian Review of Sociology/Revue Canadienne de sociologie, 57(2): 197-222.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Canadian Review of Sociology




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor