Date of Award

Summer 1987

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Fox, Robert

Second Advisor

Kipfmueller, Mark

Third Advisor

Tagatz, Glenn


This study was designed to investigate the relationship between locus of control and parenting attitudes for a sample of fathers of children born to adolescent mothers. In addition, the contributing effects of the father's family history, age, amount of time spent with his child, level of education, and career aspirations were examined in relationship to both the father's locus of control and parenting attitudes. Fifty fathers of children born to adolescent mothers were interviewed and tested using the Nowicki-Strickland Internal External Control Scale and the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI). The fathers ranged in age from 17 to 32 years and were predominantly black. Scores on the AAPI are reported on four subscales: Inappropriate Expectations; Empathy; Corporal Punishment; and Role Reversal. Fathers' locus of control was found to correlate significantly with two of the AAPI subscales: Empathy and Role Reversal. Fathers who saw themselves as under the control of external sources of reinforcement were less likely to empathize with their child and were more likely to feel that their child should be responsible for the father's happiness, than were internalizing fathers. There was a slight but nonsignificant tendency for internalizing fathers to be less likely to endorse the use of physical punishment. Internally and externally oriented fathers both lacked information concerning developmental milestones of children. Regression analyses showed that a limited number of the demographic variables examined were related to either locus of control or parenting attitudes. Parental age was related to belief in the use of corporal punishment, with younger fathers more likely to endorse its use. Fathers who had come from single parent households were more likely to have inappropriate developmental expectations of children. As previous research with other populations has indicated, the present study demonstrated that locus of control and parenting attitudes of the fathers of children born to adolescent mothers are indeed related. The limitations of this finding were noted along with recommendations for future research. Recommendations for the development of intervention strategies aimed specifically at the fathers of children born to adolescent mothers for the improvement in both parenting attitudes and career aspirations were also made.



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