Changes in the Cultural Model of Father Involvement: Descriptions of Benefits to Fathers, Children, and Mothers in Parents' Magazine, 1926-2006.

Journal Name
Journal of Family Issues
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Milkie, Melissa A.
Denny, Kathleen E.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
Cultural models are shared frameworks that people use to make sense of the world. The cultural model of father involvement (a) specifies ideal roles fathers should play, (b) provides evaluations of involvement, and (c) describes the benefits of fathers' interactions with offspring for family members. Discourse about benefits of father involvement remains underexamined empirically but is vital to study because it may motivate and/or justify fathering actions. We perform content analysis on the 575 Parents' Magazine articles on fathering (1926-2006) to describe articulated benefits of father involvement. About half of articles state rewards for fathers, with a shift from enjoyment to fulfillment. Fifty-eight percent of articles state benefits to children, with a dramatic decline from 79% in the 1920s to 30% in the 2000s, and a relative shift in focus from character development to achievement. Nineteen percent of articles mention benefits to mothers; these discussions are sometimes cautious or conditional. (Author abstract)

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