Sex Roles

, Volume 46, Issue 3–4, pp 99–111 | Cite as

Factors Associated with Perceived Paternal Involvement in Childrearing

  • Susan Sanderson
  • Vetta L. Sanders Thompson


Interest in paternal involvement in child care has increased as the demands on the time and resources of maternal caretakers have increased. The purpose of the present study was to examine variables associated with perceived paternal involvement in child care. Participants were 137 (90 European American and 47 African American) fathers of children between the ages of 2 and 6. Hierarchical multiple regression and analyses of variance indicated that ethnicity, gender role orientation, and perceived skill at child care were associated with higher levels of perceived paternal engagement in and responsibility for child care. Partners' work status was associated with perceived paternal responsibility for, but not engagement in child care. Data suggest that fathers' perceptions of their abilities, gender role, and family requirements may combine to influence child care involvement.

fathering paternal involvement father involvement parental involvement 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahmeduzzaman, M., & Roopnarine, J. L. (1992). Sociodemographic factors, functioning style, social support, and fathers' involvement with preschoolers in African-American families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54 699-707.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, W. T. (1990). Fathers' involvement in their children's health care. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 152 289-293.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey, W. T. (1993). Fathers' knowledge of development and involvement with preschool children. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 77 1032-1034.Google Scholar
  4. Barnett, R. C., & Baruch, G. (1988). Correlates of father participation in family work. In P. Bronstein & C. P. Cowan (Eds.), Fatherhood today: Men's changing role in the family (pp. 66-78). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  5. Belsky, J., Gilstrap, B., & Rovine, M. (1984). The Pennsylvania infant and family development project I: Stability and change in mother-infant and father-infant interaction in a family setting at one, three, and nine months. Child Development, 55 692-705.Google Scholar
  6. Belsky, J., Youngblade, L., Rovine, M., & Volling, B. (1991). Patterns of marital change and parent-child interaction. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53 487-498.Google Scholar
  7. Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42 155-162.Google Scholar
  8. Bem, S. L. (1981). The BSRI and gender schema theory: A reply to Spence and Helmreich. Psychological Review, 88 369-371.Google Scholar
  9. Cowan, C. P., & Cowan, P. A. (1987). Men's involvement in par-enthood: Identifying the antecedents and understanding the barriers. In P. W. Berman & F. A. Pedersen (Eds.), Men's transitions to parenthood: Longitudinal studies of early family experiences (pp. 145-174). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. Crouter, A. C., Perry-Jenkins, M., Huston, A. C., & McHale, S. M. (1987). Processes underlying father involvement in dual-earner and single-earner families. Developmental Psychology, 23 431-440.Google Scholar
  11. Daly, K. J. (1996). Spending time with the kids: Meanings of family time for fathers. Family Relations, 45 466-476.Google Scholar
  12. Daniels, P., & Weingarten, K. (1982). Sooner or later: The timing of parenthood in adult lives. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  13. DeLuccie, M. F. (1996a). Predictors of paternal involvement and satisfaction. Psychological Reports, 79 1351-1359.Google Scholar
  14. DeLuccie, M. F. (1996b). Mothers: Influential agents in father-child relations. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 122 287-307.Google Scholar
  15. Doherty, W. J., Koaneski, E. F., & Erickson, M. F. (1998). Responsible fathering: Anoverview and conceptual framework. Journal of Marriage and Family, 60 277-292.Google Scholar
  16. Dollahite, D. C., & Hawkins, A. J. (1998). A conceptual method: Ethic of generative fathering. Journal of Men's Studies, 7 109-132.Google Scholar
  17. Fagan, J. (1998). Correlates of low-income African American and Puerto Rican fathers' involvement with their children. Journal of Black Psychology, 24 351-367.Google Scholar
  18. Fagan, J., Newash, N., & Schloesser, M. (2000). Female caregivers' perceptions of fathers' and significant adult males' involvement with their Head Start children. Families in Society, 81 186-196.Google Scholar
  19. Feldman, S. S., Nash, S. C., & Aschenbrenner, B. G. (1983). Antecedents of fathering. Child Development, 54 1628-1636.Google Scholar
  20. Hawkins, A. J., & Palkovitz, R. (1999). Beyond ticks and clicks: The need for more diverse and broader conceptualization and measures of father involvement. Journal of Men's Studies, 8 11-32.Google Scholar
  21. Hawkins, A. J., Roberts, T., Christiansen, S. L., & Marshall, C. M. (1994). Anevaluation of a program to help dual-earner couples share the second shift. Family Relations, 43 213-220.Google Scholar
  22. Hochschild, A. (2001). Men who share “the second shift.” In J. M. Henslin (Ed.), Down to earth sociology: Introducing readings (11th ed., pp. 395-409). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hossain, Z., & Roopnarine, J. L. (1993). Division of household labor and child care in dual-earner African American families with infants. Sex Roles, 29 571-583.Google Scholar
  24. Kalin, R. (1979). Method for scoring androgyny as a continuous variable. Psychological Reports, 44 1205-1206.Google Scholar
  25. Klein, P. U. (1983). Behavior and satisfaction of fathers in dual-career families with one pre-school-aged child. Dissertation Abstracts International, 45 659a.Google Scholar
  26. Lamb, M. E. (1986). The changing roles of fathers. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The father's role: Applied perspectives (pp. 3-27). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  27. Lamb, M. E. (1987). Introduction: The emergent American father. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The father's role: Cross-cultural perspectives (pp. 3-25). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  28. Lerman, R. I., & Ooms, T. J. (1993). Young unwed fathers: Changing roles and emerging policies. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Marsiglio, W. (1991). Paternal engagement activities with minor children. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53 973-986.Google Scholar
  30. Marsiglio, W. (1995). Fatherhood scholarship: An overview and agenda for the future. In W. Marsiglio (Ed.), Fatherhood: Contemporary theory, research, and social policy (pp. 1-20). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Marsiglio, W., Amato, P., Day, R. D., & Lamb, M. E. (2000). Scholarship on fatherhood in the 1990s and beyond. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62 1173-1191.Google Scholar
  32. McAdoo, J. L. (1988). Changing perspectives on the role of the Black father. In P. Bronstein & C. P. Cowan (Eds.), Fatherhood today: Men's changing role in the family (pp. 79-92). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  33. McBride, B. A., & Mills, G. (1993). A comparison of mother and father involvement with their preschool age children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8 457-477.Google Scholar
  34. McBride, B. A., & Rane, T. R. (1997). Role identity, role investments, and paternal involvement: Implications for parenting programs for men. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12 173-197.Google Scholar
  35. McBride, B. A., & Rane, T. R. (1998). Parenting alliance as a predictor of father involvement: An exploratory study. Family Relations, 47 229-236.Google Scholar
  36. McHale, S. M., & Huston, T. L. (1984). Men and women as parents: Sex role orientations, employment, and parental roles with infants. Child Development, 55 1349-1361.Google Scholar
  37. Palkovitz, R. (1984). Parental attitudes and fathers' interactions with their 5-month-old infants. Developmental Psychology, 20 1054-1060.Google Scholar
  38. Palkovitz, R. (1997). Reconstructing “involvement”: Expanding the conceptualizations of men's caring in contemporary families. In A. J. Hawkins & D. C. Dollahite (Eds.), Generative fathering: Beyond deficit perspective (pp. 200-216). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Parke, R. D. (1996). Fatherhood. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Parke, R. D., & Swain, D. B. (1980). The family in early infancy: Social interactional and attitudinal analysis. In F. A. Pedersen (Ed.), The father-infant relationship: Observational studies in the family setting (pp. 44-70). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  41. Pleck, J. H. (1983). Husbands' paid work and family roles: Current research issues. In H. Z. Lopata & J. H. Pleck (Eds.), Research in the interweave of social roles: Jobs and families (Vol. 3, pp. 251-333). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  42. Russell, G. (1986). Primary care taking and role-sharing fathers. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The father's role: Applied perspectives (pp. 29-57). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  43. Snarey, J. A. (1993). How fathers care for the next generation: A four-decade study. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Spanier, G. B. (1976). Measuring dyadic adjustment: New scales for assessing the quality of marriage in similar dyads. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 38 15-28.Google Scholar
  45. Stier, H., & Tienda, M. (1993). Are men marginal in the family? In J. C. Hood (Ed.), Men, work, and family (pp. 23-44). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  46. Stryker, S. (1981). Symbolic interactionism: Themes and variations. In M. Rosenberg & R. Turner (Eds.), Social psychology: Sociological perspectives (pp. 3-29). New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  47. Stryker, S., & Serpe, R. T. (1982). Commitment, identity salience, and role behavior. In W. Ickes & E. Knowles (Eds.), Personality roles and social behavior (pp. 199-218). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  48. Stryker, S., & Serpe, R. T. (1994). Identity salience and psychological centrality: Equivalent, overlapping, or complementary concepts? Social Psychological Quarterly, 57 16-35.Google Scholar
  49. Thompson Sanders, V. (1999). Factors affecting African American racial identity salience and racial group identification. Journal of Social Psychology, 139 748-761.Google Scholar
  50. Volling, B. L., & Belsky, J. (1991). Multiple determinants of father involvement during infancy in dual-earner and single-earner families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53 461-474.Google Scholar
  51. White, C. L., & Burke, P. J. (1987). Ethnic role identity among Black and White college students: An interactionist approach. Sociological Perspectives, 30 310-331.Google Scholar
  52. Woodworth, S., Belsky, J., & Collins, K. (1996). The determinants of fathering during the child's second and third years of life: A developmental analysis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58 679-692.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Sanderson
    • 1
  • Vetta L. Sanders Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Missouri – St. LouisSt. Louis

Personalised recommendations