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Title:Waiting for Paternity: Interpersonal and Contextual Implications of the Timing of Fatherhood
Author(s):Neville, Brian
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Parke, R.D.,
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Abstract:Previous research suggests that children born to parents at different points in the life-span will be raised in differing contexts, and that timing of first birth has implications for parent-child relations distinct from those of simple parental chronological age. This study examined the effects of timing of parenthood on father-child relationships. Sixty families, whose first child was born when both parents were in their early twenties (mean age = 23.1) or past age thirty (mean age = 34.3) and whose child was between the ages of 3 and 5 at the time of the study, participated. Videotaped observations of father-child play were collected, along with self-reports of fathers' conceptualization of child development and identification with social roles. Contextual variables measured included connections to work and social networks.
The early- versus delayed-timing groups were observed to differ significantly in ratings of play style. Follow-up discriminant function analyses supported the hypothesis that early fathers would use less physical and more verbal means to engage their children than early fathers. In line with a more verbal, cognitively stimulating approach to play, delayed fathers displayed a more complex understanding of child development than early fathers. Delayed fathers were also found to identify more with the care-giver parental role (when they had boys), and less with the disciplinarian role. These findings suggest that delayed fathers' style is a departure from the traditional paternal pattern toward the traditional maternal pattern.
Contextual factors were also found to vary with timing and accounted for differences in father-child play. Results revealed that delayed fathers had significantly stronger connections to their jobs and to social network members outside of the family. Multiple regression analyses revealed that contextual variables (particularly work-home conflict) were found to predict the ability fathers and their children to remain engaged in play in the delayed, but not the early group. The results of this study qualify our usual views of father-child relationships, and highlight the need to recognize variability of fathers' styles across the life course.
Issue Date:1992
Description:170 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1992.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9305634
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-17
Date Deposited:1992

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