Fathering attitudes and father involvement Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Lewis, Jamie Michelle
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • Fatherhood is being increasingly studied, and positive consequences related to involved fathering are gaining greater recognition. However, we still do not understand why observed fathering behavior lags behind society's standard of the highly involved father. Here, I shed light on this topic, integrating research on fathering attitudes, father involvement, and child development through three interrelated substantive chapters. Analyses use nationally representative data on children and their resident fathers from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). In Chapter 2, I describe latent classes of fathering attitudes, including variation by race/ethnicity and class. I specifically assess how closely attitudes match the assumption that fathers are essentially of two types: a provider father whose primary responsibility consists of financial provision, and a highly involved father that not only economically supports his children but also engages in daily activities of childrearing. I find that the majority of fathers endorses the highly involved father role, but also that the provider father-involved father typology is inadequate for understanding observed attitudes. Minority and non-professional fathers are more likely than their counterparts to support an adaptive form of fathering that combines aspects of the provider and involved father roles. The third chapter evaluates the influence of fathering attitudes on latent classes of men's involvement comprised of multiple dimensions of fathering—engagement, accessibility, and responsibility. I also test how structural factors—including employment characteristics, social support, and fathering examples—affect this relationship. Results indicate that American resident fathers' involvement does not measure up to their parenting attitudes. Men's attitudes about fathering are associated with their fathering behavior, but work-family conflict appears to impede men's ability to enact their attitudes. In the fourth chapter, I test whether fathering profiles encompassing both men's fathering attitudes and behavior are important for understanding preschool-aged children's literacy and mathematics abilities. I further assess whether fathering profiles similar relate to development in girls and boys. I find that men's parenting offers greater benefits for boys than for girls. Profiles characterized by inconsistency between attitudes and behavior tend to relate to unfavorable outcomes in girls but higher literacy for boys.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology."
  • Pearce, Lisa D.
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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