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Understanding Fathering

March 31, 2011

Researchers consider topic from diverse perspectives

Most research studies that look at parenting focus on mothers. But fathers also exert direct, unique influences on their children, most likely because they engage with their children in different activities and have different styles of interaction than mothers””such as greater encouragement of risk taking and children’s independence. Today, there is renewed attention to the role played by fathers, and there’s new research on fathers and their influences on children’s development.

At a symposium during the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, researchers will use different and complementary methodologies to present findings related to fathering across a variety of contexts and cultures.

Among the questions that will be addressed:

    * In dual-earner couples, how do mothers’ and fathers’ time with and care for their infants differ?
    * In rural American communities, how do fathers’ interactions with their children uniquely contribute to the cognitive development of girls and boys from high- and low-income families?
    * In Israeli families, how closely coordinated are moment-to-moment interactions between fathers and infants, and how does this father-infant coordination shape children’s later capacity to handle positive and negative encounters with best friends in early adolescence?
    * Among low-income African American, Latino, and White fathers in the United States in which the fathers move in and out of the family home, what supports and barriers shape men’s ability to nurture their children?

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