Fathers and mothers of 87 firstborn infants completed a parental responsibility questionnaire; recorded accessibility and direct interaction time in caregiving, play, and outings; and were videotaped in a free-play session with their infants at 9 and 15 months of age. Analyses compared fathers' and mothers' involvement and interactive behaviors, and examined age-of-infant and gender-of-infant effects. At both times, fathers reported being less accessible to their infants and spending less time in direct interaction with them than did mothers. During times when both parents were available to the infant, fathers were less likely to provide basic care, but spent an equivalent amount of time in play and outings. Fathers in dual-earner families spent less time in accessibility, caregiving, and outings, but they engaged in as much play as mothers. Responsibility for disciplining the infant was rated as being equally shared amongst parents. During play, parents did not differ in the amount of physical contact, conventional play, nonconventional play, and attempts to direct the infant's attention. However, fathers vocalized less and made fewer requests than mothers. Differences between paternal and maternal involvement in childcare and stimulation behaviors are discussed with respect to infant age and infant gender.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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