Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 613–626 | Cite as

Paternal Depressive Symptoms and Parenting Behaviors: An Updated Meta-Analysis

  • Kristene Cheung
  • Jennifer TheuleEmail author
Review Paper



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.


Paternal depression Parenting behaviors Parenting Meta-analysis 



We would like to thank Michelle Ward, Brenna Henrikson, and Rachel Goertzen for their assistance with the completion of this study. We would also like to thank Drs. Diane Hiebert-Murphy, Caroline Piotrowski, Kristin Reynolds, Jean-François Bureau, and John Walker, for their helpful suggestions.

Author Contributions

K.C. designed and executed the study, conducted the data analyses, and wrote the paper. J.T. collaborated with the design of the study, the writing of the study, and the editing of the final manuscript.


This project was supported by a grant from the American Psychological Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship, and the Direct Aid to Achieve (DATA) Award from the Department of Psychology at the University of Manitoba.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Research involving Human Participants. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Participants were not recruited for the current study and therefore, obtaining informed consent was not required.

Supplementary material

10826_2018_1316_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Supplementary Information
10826_2018_1316_MOESM2_ESM.docx (29 kb)
Supplementary Information
10826_2018_1316_MOESM3_ESM.docx (32 kb)
Supplementary Information


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada

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