Father involvement in infancy: Influences of past and current relationships

Jacqueline D. Shannon, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda, Allan Margolin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Men's childhood experiences with their parents, their current relationship with their partners, and demographic factors were examined in relation to father-infant interactions. Participants were 60 racially and ethnically diverse, inner-city men and their 6- to 11-month-old infants. Father-infant interactions were videotaped during semistructured free play in participants' homes. The quality of men's interactions with their infants was assessed using Likert ratings of their responsive-didactic and negative-overbearing behaviors. Men engaged in significantly more responsive-didactic behaviors than negative-overbearing behaviors. A cumulative score of protective demographic factors (i.e., men residing with their infants, being married, completing high school, and obtaining income above the sample's median level) and men's experiences of childhood acceptance from their fathers uniquely predicted their responsive-didactic behaviors. Men's relationships with their partners were homogeneously strong and unrelated to fathering behaviors. This study builds on extant literature by providing a broader conceptualization of father-infant relationships and applying observational methods to the study of fathering in minority, low-income men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-41
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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