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Sage Publications

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International Journal of Social Psychiatry

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Traditionally, the role of the father in the psychological development of children has received relatively little attention. Recently, however, an increasing number of researchers have evinced considerable interest in this area. 'Much of the current interest...seems to have been intensified by the growing awareness of the prevalence of fatherless families and the social, economic, and psychological problems that such families encounter' (Biller, 1971, p. l). the present review brings together most of the available research in this field. The first and most substantial aspect to be discussed involves the role of the father in the sex-role development of children. Although there are a few studies that have dealt with the development of femininity in girls and its relationship to various paternal factors, the emphasis in the literature has been primarily on the sex-role development of boys. The second segment of this paper will discuss the role of the father in the general personality functioning of children. This area consists almost entirely of retrospective studies, with an emphasis on factors relating to abnormality. The third category is composed of information on the father's role in the child's cognitive development. The fourth section will contain information not directly related to any of the first three points. The last portion of this article will present some concluding remarks and a few suggestions for future investigations.


Accepted version. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, Vol. 25, No. 4 (December 1, 1979): 267-284. DOI. © 1979 Sage Publications. Used with permission.

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