Are Stay-at-home Dads Depressed?

Last week I found a golden piece of Fake News in the depths of the internet. This quest involved the KKK, some criminal records, and some very badly written research articles. Let me share the story with you.

A man was making a statement on a feminist post that women should know there place
(at home) and that, according to research, men would be unhappy, depressed even, if they don’t have a job and are stay-at-home dads. He posted a screenshot of a supposed-to-be New York Times article , with some very bad Paint skills, as proof (scroll down for screenshot). The title of the golden piece is “New U.S. trend could be harming families”. Finally someone that comes with good arguments, was my first reaction. I was wrong.

The first thing that suggested it was fake news, besides the hideous Paint skills, was the logo of the New York Times. THE New York Times. Where is the “The”? Right! The logo is not original. That attracted my attention. What about the content?

The article talked about a study from Brown University that, supposedly, found that stay-at-home dads are more prone to suicide, depression, and sexual dysfunction compared to dads who play the role of primary “bread winner”. Then the professor, Dr. Frank Ancona, was interviewed: “I believe the findings will have a momentous push for men to get back into the work place where they’re naturally supposed to be.” This made me angry. I wanted to know who this dude is. I Googled him and found… Nothing. But wait. I looked better at the hits. All about the KKK! There is no Professor Frank Ancona, but this name is tide to “the imperial wizard of a Missouri chapter of the KKK”. This is strange.

But, it gets even better! I decided to Google the name of the journalist that wrote this piece, Gary Ridgway. I typed in “Gary Ridgway New York Times”. Instead of articles written BY Gary, I got a lot of articles written ABOUT Gary. Shocker: he is a criminal.

This is clearly fake news of the highest order, with some dark humor. Let’s proceed to the next step: dive into the scientific literature and see what is written about stay-at-home dads.

It turns out that this step was also not easy. I found an article, started reading “We examined this concept from our own personal experience and…” WHAT? Next… It seems that there is not that much research on this topic. At least not much well-conducted research. The well-conducted studies that I could find report mostly positive results on stay-at-home dads:

“The study indicated that the family dynamic of a working mother and stay-at-home father provided a positive parent–child relationship, enhanced parenting cohesion, and enhanced quality time.” (Rushing & Powell, 2014)

“Results from regression analyses suggested several significant predictors of adjustment to the stay-at-home father role including strong social support, high parenting self-efficacy, and low of conformity to traditional masculine role norms.” (Rochlen et al., 2008)

To conclude, I could not find any article that suggests that men as primary caretakers are doomed. The NYT article was clearly fake. It is surprising to see what people fabricate to push their opinion on others.

Conclusion: FAKE NEWS

Stay-at-home dads

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Rushing, Cassie, & Powell, Lisa. Family Dynamics of the Stay-at-Home Father and Working Mother Relationship. (2014). American Journal of Mens Health, 9(5), 410-420.

Rochlen, Aaron B., McKelley, Ryan A., Suizoo, Marie-Anne, Scaringi, Vanessa. Predictors of Relationship Satisfaction, Psychological Well-Being, and Life Satisfaction Among Stay-at-Home Fathers. (2008). Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 9(1), 17-28.