Hostile sexism is related to worse mental health outcomes among fathers


Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00127-023-02536-7
  • Journal Name: Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, Educational research abstracts (ERA), MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Keywords: Anxiety, Depression, Fathers, Gender discrimination, Masculinity, Peripartum
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: Transition to parenthood is a life-changing yet stressful event for both men and women. The present study aims to: (1) establish the incidence of prenatal paternal depression and anxiety in a sample of expectant fathers and (2) assess the relationship between sexist beliefs and mental health outcomes. Methods: We recruited expectant fathers (n = 100) who attended the Gynecology and Obstetrics Outpatient Clinic of Eskişehir Osmangazi University Hospital with their pregnant partners. Fathers completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and the Ambivalent Sexism Scale. Results: 36% of expectant fathers reported depression, and 12% reported anxiety. Hostile sexism was correlated with depression (r = 0.303, p < 0.01), and anxiety (r = 0.228, p < 0.05). Benevolent sexism was not related to anxiety or depression (each, p > 0.05). Family social support (p = 0.004) and perceived financial satisfaction (p = 0.027) predicted anxiety, while family social support (p < 0.001) and perceived financial satisfaction (p = 0.036) predicted depression. Hostile sexism predicted both anxiety (B = 0.28, p = 0.004) and depression (B = 0.32, p < 0.001). Limitations: Results may not show a causal relationship due to the study’s cross-sectional design. We recruited participants in only one center. Our measures of anxiety and depression were purely psychometric. Conclusions: Sexist beliefs may serve as environmental stressors among men in the perinatal period by increasing the masculine role stress. Future interventions to treat prenatal paternal depression may target sexism.