OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to determine whether paternal depressive symptoms were associated with less father involvement among African American fathers not living with their children (ie, nonresident fathers).

METHODS: We analyzed survey data for 345 fathers enrolled in a program for nonresident African American fathers and their preteen sons. Father involvement included measures of contact, closeness, monitoring, communication, and conflict. We used bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression analysis to examine associations between father involvement and depressive symptoms.

RESULTS: Thirty-six percent of fathers reported moderate depressive symptoms, and 11% reported severe depressive symptoms. In bivariate analyses, depressive symptoms were associated with less contact, less closeness, low monitoring, and increased conflict. In multivariate analyses controlling for basic demographic features, fathers with moderate depressive symptoms were more likely to have less contact (adjusted odds ratio: 1.7 [95% confidence interval: 1.1–2.8]), less closeness (adjusted odds ratio: 2.1 [95% confidence interval: 1.3–3.5]), low monitoring (adjusted odds ratio: 2.7 [95% confidence interval: 1.4–5.2]), and high conflict (adjusted odds ratio: 2.1 [95% confidence interval: 1.2–3.6]). Fathers with severe depressive symptoms also were more likely to have less contact (adjusted odds ratio: 3.1 [95% confidence interval: 1.4–7.2]), less closeness (adjusted odds ratio: 2.6 [95% confidence interval: 1.2–5.7]), low monitoring (adjusted odds ratio: 2.8 [95% confidence interval: 1.1–7.1]), and high conflict (adjusted odds ratio: 2.6 [95% confidence interval: 1.1–5.9]).

CONCLUSION: Paternal depressive symptoms may be an important, but modifiable, barrier for nonresident African American fathers willing to be more involved with their children.

You do not currently have access to this content.