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Effects of Father Involvement on Mothers' Stress and Depression: A Moderated Mediation Model Open Access

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Rates of adolescent pregnancy continued to affect an estimate of over four million mothers in 2009 (Hamilton, Martin, & Ventura, 2010), putting them at risk for negative outcomes like depression (Milan et al., 2004; Mollborn & Morningstar, 2009). Father involvement has been suggested to have an impact on mothers' level of depressive symptoms and parenting stress (Dienhart & Daly, 1997; Gee & Rhodes, 2003; Jackson, 1999; Kalil et al., 2005), but overall, findings have been mixed (Arditti & Bickley, 1996; Fagan & Lee, 2010; Kalil, Ziol-Guest, and Coley, 2005) and research has not consistently measured mother's satisfaction in the measurement of father involvement. In turn, there is a need for longitudinal research on lower-income adolescents that provide a measurement of mother's satisfaction with fathers and that test the potential mediating effect of parenting stress on depression. Therefore, the current study explored the effects of mother satisfaction on the relationships between father involvement, parenting stress and maternal depression in a sample of 78 first-time, low-income adolescent and young African American and Latina mothers who were part of a larger longitudinal study. Data for the current study were obtained at six-months postpartum and twelve-months postpartum, and run against a moderated mediation model using Structural Equation Modeling in MPlus 7.0. Results did not indicate that there was a good fit between the model and the data but individual paths were found significant, including the associations from parenting stress at twelve-months to depressive symptoms at twelve-months, and from parenting stress at six-months and parenting stress six months later. Study results are further presented and discussed, along with clinical implications and future directions.

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