Identity theory was used to explore fathers' involvement with their children. Eighty-nine married couples with preschool children completed questionnaires and interviews providing information on how involved they were in child-rearing activities. Participants rated the centrality of their parent versus worker status and of the nurturing role. Results indicated that fathers did not differ on any involvement measures regardless of whether they rated the parent or worker status most central. However, fathers who considered the nurturing role highly central to their sense of self engaged in significantly more interaction and responsibility behaviors with their children and were significantly more involved overall than fathers low on nurturing role centrality. Specific behaviors and attitudes of mothers were significantly related to fathers' assessments of nurturing role centrality. Results hold important implications for the refinement of identity theory and for the development of parenting programs and public policy initiatives designed to increase father involvement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)