Depression as a mediator of the association between substance abuse and negative parenting of fathers

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2012 Jul;38(4):344-9. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2011.649221. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


Objective: The role of substance abuse (SA) and depression on paternal parenting has recently gained attention in the research literature. Both SA and depression have been associated with negative parenting in fathers, but studies to date have not examined the mediating role that depression may play in the association of SA and fathering.

Methods: SA, depression, and parenting data were reported by 87 fathers presenting for SA evaluation. Bootstrap mediation modeling was conducted to determine the role of depression on the association between SA and negative parenting.

Results: Depression is a significant mediator of the relationship between the severity of fathers' drug use and hostile-aggressive parenting behaviors. Fathers who had concerns about parenting or wanted help to improve the parent-child relationship had significantly higher symptoms of depression.

Conclusions: Depressive symptoms in fathers entering SA treatment have implications for both the severity of drug abuse and negative parenting behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Fathers / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*