Effect of Gender and Caretaking Role on Parent—Infant Interaction

  • Michael E. Lamb
  • Ann M. Frodi
  • Carl-Philip Hwang
  • Majt Frodi
  • Jamie Steinberg
Part of the Topics in Developmental Psychobiology book series (TDP)


After decades in which developmental psychologists focused exclusively on mother—infant relationships, researchers have recently begun to study father—infant relationships as well (Lamb, 1978; Parke, 1979). These studies confirm that many fathers interact sensitively and responsively with their infants (Parke & Sawin, 1980) and that most infants form attachments to both their mothers and fathers at roughly the same age (Lamb, 19776). Despite such similarities between mother— and father—infant relationships, some important differences between maternal and paternal styles have also been identified. Mothers’ interactions tend to be centered around caretaking, whereas fathers’ interactions are characterized by play—especially physically stimulating play (Clarke-Stewart, 1978; Lamb, 1976, 1977b; Yogman, Dixon, Tronick, Als, Adamson, Lester, & Brazelton, 1977). Lamb (1978) has speculated that the distinctive sex stereotyped patterns of parent—infant interaction occupy an important place in the development of gender identity.


Parental Behavior Parental Gender Family Type Parental Leave Infant Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael E. Lamb
    • 1
  • Ann M. Frodi
    • 2
  • Carl-Philip Hwang
    • 3
  • Majt Frodi
    • 3
  • Jamie Steinberg
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GöteborgGöteborgSweden
  4. 4.School of Public HealthUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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