An exploration of fathers' perceptions of fatherhood and factors influencing fathers' involvement in parenting activities with their infants

Lee, Trinda Shalane, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Cornell, Dewey, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The goal of the current study was twofold. First, the researcher sought to develop a comprehensive model of father involvement (the CMFI) by consolidating past researchers' findings about fathering behavior. Second, the researcher explored how fathers' attitudes about father involvement, fathers' depressive symptoms, and fathers' sociodemographic characteristics were .associate~"...with fathers' involvement in their children's lives. Structured interviews, administered to 3355 fathers, were used to obtain information about fathers' socidemographic characteristics, attitudes about fatherhood, level of depressive symptoms, and engagement in fathering activities. It was expected that fathers who were younger, had lower incomes, and were in less committed relationships with their child's mother would demonstrate lower levels of father involvement. Less involvement was also expected for fathers with higher levels of depressive symptoms and less positive attitudes about fatherhood. Finally, it was hypothesized that fathers' attitudes and patterns of engagement in various fathering behaviors would provide support for the validity of the CMFI. Results indicated that father's in more committed relationships with the child's mother reported higher levels of father involvement. Father's age, income, and depression were not clearly linked to father involvement. Finally, support was obtained for the CMFI. Fathers endorsed a variety of activities as important aspects of the father role. In addition, fathers could be classified into distinct groups based on their differing degrees of engagement in various dimensions of the CMFI, suggesting some validity of these dimensions.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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