Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Edwards, Lisa M.
Evidence suggests that the practices through which men are socialized to become masculine may serve both to restrict their potential in ways that lead to psychological distress, and also to restrict the ways in which they respond to such distress (Addis & Mahalik, 2003; Mahalik, Good, Tager, Levant, & Mackowiak, 2012; O’Neil, 2008). While we are beginning to understand masculine depression (Cochran & Rabinowitz, 2000; Magovcevic & Addis, 2008) and paternal depression (Paulson & Bazemore, 2010; Ramachandani & Psychogiou, 2009), almost nothing is known about how SAHFs experience depression, nor their experiences and beliefs regarding help-seeking and psychotherapy. The trend towards increased SAHFs does not seem to be slowing (Latshaw, 2011; Rochlen, McKelly, Whittaker, 2010), and given the impacts of paternal depression individually, and famillially, a greater understanding of this unique population is sorely needed. To that end, this qualitative study focused on how SAHFs experience depression, including ways in which they have coped, and how they think about help-seeking. Where they have sought help from mental health professionals, this study also explored their experiences of psychotherapy. Results indicated that SAHFs who have experienced depression during their tenure as SAHFs focused on relational distress, isolation, loss of independence, and social stigma as contributing to their depression. They appeared to retain a high value on providing for their families, both in the decision to take on the role of SAHF and in deciding to ultimately seek help for depression. The idea of seeking help as a means to protect and provide for their families appeared congruent with their descriptions of masculinity, which recast the SAHF role as being definitionally masculine. Finally, this growing but still somewhat marginalized group of men appeared to be building social networks both on- and offline to support their sense of identity and as a means for coping with the unique stressors they face. Implications for practice, as well as future areas for research, are discussed.