Parenting among fathers of young children

Ann D Burbach, Marquette University

Abstract

This study examined if child gender and socioeconomic status (SES) significantly affected reported differences in the parenting practices and expectations, parenting stress, and perceptions of child behavior of fathers of young children ages 1 to 5 years. Fathers completed the Parenting Behavior Checklist (PBC), Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (PSI), Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI) and the Behavior Screening Questionnaire (BSQ). The ethnically diverse sample was selected from a large urban area in the Midwest. Fathers were assigned to one of four groups based on gender of the focus child and SES. SES was estimated using Hollingshead's Four Factor Index of Social Status. Lower SES was defined as scores from 8 to 34, higher SES was defined as scores from 35 to 66. Results indicated that lower SES fathers of male children obtained significantly higher scores on the PBC Discipline subscale, indicating greater use of verbal and physical punishment in response to difficult child behaviors, than higher SES fathers of male and female children. Lower SES fathers of male children also obtained significantly lower scores on the PBC Nurturing subscale, indicating use of fewer nurturing behaviors that are likely to promote psychological growth, than both groups of fathers with female children. No significant differences between the four groups were found on the PBC Expectations subscale, which measures developmental expectations (developmental tasks that the parent believes the child should be capable of doing). Lower SES fathers of male children obtained significantly higher scores on the PSI Parent-Child Dysfunctional Interaction subscale than higher SES fathers of male and female children. Higher scores on this subscale suggest that interactions with the child are not reinforcing to the parent, and that the parent either views themselves as abused or rejected by the child, or that the parent is disappointed in or feels alienated from the child. No significant differences were found on the parental distress, or difficult child subscales. No significant differences between groups were found for reported perceptions of child behavior, as measured by the ECBI or BSQ. The implication of these findings for parenting programs is discussed.

Recommended Citation

Burbach, Ann D, "Parenting among fathers of young children" (2002). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3061123.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI3061123

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