Gender Differences in Depression across Parental Roles

Kevin Shafer, Brigham Young University
Garrett Pace, Brigham Young University

Prior research has focused on the relationship between parenthood and psychological well-being with mixed results. Some studies have also addressed potential gender differences in this relationship, again yielding varied findings. One reason may be methodological choices pursued in these studies, including the lack of focus on combined parental roles (i.e., biological parent and stepparent). We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 (NLSY, n= 6276) and multinomial treatment models to address how combined roles influence depressive symptoms in mothers and fathers. Further, we explore potential gender differences. Our results indicate that numerous parental roles are negatively associated with psychological well-being for both men and women, while childlessness is negative for women, and specific parental role combinations affect mothers and fathers differently. Within the context of changing family structure in the U.S., these results help us understand any link how gendered parental roles can influence mental health.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Health of Women, Children, and Families