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The primary objective of the current study was to provide a summary of the strength of the relationship between paternal depressive symptoms and parenting behaviors. The secondary objective of this study was to examine whether specific factors moderate the magnitude of this relationship.
A series of meta-analyses were conducted to examine the strength of the association between paternal depressive symptoms and parenting behaviors. Several moderator analyses were also conducted to examine whether specific factors influenced the strength of the relationship. Moderators analyzed included: mean paternal age, mean child age, paternal relationship status, informant of parenting behaviors, and bibliographic factors.
The current study found a small relationship between paternal depressive symptoms and both positive (r= –.16; 95% CI [–.20, –.13]; k= 35; p < .001) and negative (r= .17; 95% CI [.13, .21]; k= 28; p < .001) parenting behaviors. The relationship between paternal depressive symptoms and overall parenting behaviors was significantly moderated by the informant of the parenting behavior, where father-reports of parenting behaviors (vs. child-reports, mother-reports, or observation) were associated with larger effect sizes.
The results of this study suggest that practitioners should be mindful of the relationship between paternal depressive symptoms and parenting behaviors when working with families. Suggestions for future research and treatment implications are provided.
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- Paternal Depressive Symptoms and Parenting Behaviors: An Updated Meta-Analysis
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