Self-Perceived Parental Role and Mental Health Concomitants Among Israeli Gay and Heterosexual Fathers

Geva Shenkman, Dov Shmotkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this study we examined the association between self-perceived parental role and adverse mental health (indicated by depressive symptoms, neuroticism, and negative affect) in a sample of 82 Israeli gay fathers (Mean age = 39.57, SD = 6.70) that were individually matched with 82 heterosexual fathers (Mean age = 39.11, SD = 7.88). Results showed that although self-perceived parental role was associated with adverse mental health, this association was moderated by sexual orientation, such that a significant negative association between self-perceived parental role and adverse mental health was evident only among gay fathers. The findings are understood by features of gay fatherhood, which is intentional and purposeful, and usually achieved after contending with particular difficulties in the journey to fatherhood. These features presumably shape the perceived parental role, and thus may link more strongly with lower levels of adverse mental health among gay fathers, compared to heterosexual fathers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-732
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Volume67
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Israel
  • Self-perceived parental role
  • depression
  • gay fatherhood
  • mental health
  • negative affect
  • neuroticism

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