European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 211–228 | Cite as

Fathers’ influences on children’s development: The evidence from two-parent families

  • Charlie Lewis
  • Michael E. Lamb


Although it is often assumed that men have an important influence on their children’s development, the supportive evidence can be difficult to locate and summarize. In this paper, we analyse the evidence with respect to four emergent themes. First, men often appear to interact with their children less sensitively than mothers do, and many children thus appear to form closer attachments to their mothers than to their fathers. Second, the data also indicate that fathers may play specific and important roles, with men in some cultures having clearly defined roles as playmates to their children. Third, paternal play styles predict later socio-emotional development while paternal involvement seems to predict adult adjustment better than maternal involvement does. Such evidence suggests, fourth, that we need appropriate measures of fatherhood that are not simply borrowed from the study of motherhood.

Key words

Attachment Child development Family Father 


Malgré on pense que les pères ont une influence importante sur le développement de leurs enfants, les evidences qui le rapportent peuvent être difficiles de trouver et d’expliquer. Dans cet étude, on analyse l’évidence concernant quatre conclusions importantes. En premier, les pères font apparemment une interaction avec leurs enfants avec moins de sensibilité que les mères, et donc beaucoup d’enfants forment apparemment une relation plus proche avec leurs mères que leurs pères. En second, les renseignements indiquent aussi que les pères peuvent jouer de rôles spécifiques et importantes, avec des gens placés en quelques cultures avec des rôles bien tracés comme copins de leurs enfants. En troisième, les styles d’action des pères prévoient plus tard le développement socio- emotionnel, tandis que l’engagement paternel parait prévoir l’ajustement adulte mieux que l’engagement maternel l’en fait. Une évidence comme ça suggère, en quatrième, qu’on a besoin de mesures parentaux appropriés qui ne soient pas seulement pretés des études sur la maternité.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlie Lewis
    • 1
  • Michael E. Lamb
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Research in Human Development, Department of PsychologyLancaster UniversityUK
  2. 2.National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human ServicesNational Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentBethesdaUSA

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