A Comparison of Fathers’ Mental Health Before and After Cohabitation and Marital Dissolution

Claire M. Kamp Dush, Ohio State University
Kate S Adkins, Ohio State University

We compare the mental health consequences of cohabitation dissolution and marital dissolution using data from the second and third waves of the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being study. We use propensity score matching and fixed-effects regression techniques to attempt to account for selection bias. We find that all fathers increase in both rates of clinical depression and depressive symptoms, but fathers who dissolve their union experience a greater increase in both, regardless of the type of union dissolved. We also compare fathers who dissolved a cohabiting to those who dissolved a martial union and find that fathers dissolving a marital union experienced a greater magnitude of change in rates of clinical depression and depressive symptoms using propensity score matching. However, in fixed-effects regression results we find no significant differences in the magnitude of change in rates of clinical depression or depressive symptoms between previously cohabiting and previously married fathers.

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Presented in Session 40: Union Dissolution