To understand how the marriage relationship is related to paternal depression and maternal gatekeeping perceptions.
Paternal depression is an understudied topic, and research connecting it to maternal gatekeeping is still in its infancy. Research has found that the marriage relationship can be associated with both depression and maternal gatekeeping. This study focuses on how these three areas are related.
A subsample of the the Couple Relationships and Transition Experiences project was used including 507 couples, or 1014 married parents. Two separate structural equation modeling mediational models were tested to examine father depression as a predictor of maternal gatekeeping, with marital instability as the mediator in one model and partner connectedness as the mediator in the other. Both parent reports were used for maternal gatekeeping, marital instability, and partner connectedness.
No direct association between father depression and maternal gatekeeping was found, nor did partner connectedness mediate this relationship. However, father depression was associated with maternal reports of marital instability and, in turn, mother reports of maternal gatekeeping.
These mixed findings suggest a need for future longitudinal research to better understand the nature of the relationship between father depression and maternal gatekeeping.
These results suggest that therapists and researchers examine father depression through a wholistic family lens, acknowledging potential indirect effects associated with paternal depression, and the importance of assessing partner connectedness.