Fathers’ Childhood Experiences, Adult Mental Health Problems and Perceptions of Interactions With Their 36 Month-Old Children

Roni Mermelshtine, Jacqueline Barnes

Abstract


Perceptions of poor care in the family of origin can relate to adverse mental health and poor adaptation for mothers but there is less evidence about fathers. This study investigated the relevance of fathers’ recollections of their own parents (Generation 1) for their (Generation 2) current mental health symptoms and for interactions with their 3-year-old children (Generations 2/3), in a community sample of 482 British fathers. Recollections of G1 maternal and paternal behaviour were associated in uncontrolled correlations with G2 paternal mental health, but taking family social class and maternal (G2) mental health into account they did not significantly predict G2 fathers’ mental health symptoms at 36 months postpartum, though a trend remained for G1 paternal care. Significant predictors were paternal depression symptoms in the first year postpartum and G2 mothers’ current mental health. Predictors of more dysfunctional father-child (G2/G3) interactions at 36 months postpartum were working class status, recall of more G1 maternal controlling behaviour and more concurrent paternal mental health symptoms; predictors of less G2/G3 dysfunction were G2 paternal use of more positive discipline. Potential implications of the results for parenting support and advice are discussed, recognising that intergenerational transmission of parent-child relationships is likely for fathers.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jedp.v8n2p41

Copyright (c) Roni Mermelshtine, Jacqueline Barnes

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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