Complexities in Research on Fathering: Illustrations from the Tufts Study of Young Fathers.

Journal Name
Applied Developmental Science
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
Page Count
Year Published
Author (Individual)
Easterbrooks, M. Ann.
Barrett, Lionel R.
Brady, Anne E.
Davis, Cynthia R.
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format
Resource Language
Theory and research suggest that the transition to parenthood is a major life transition, and that adaptation to the parenting role is influenced by a complex set of factors, including the relationship with the child's mother, family of origin, and how the father is situated within sociocultural contexts. The father-mother relationship is particularly important for men making the transition to fatherhood. This study examined patterns of fathering among young fathers (15?24 years) and investigated how fathers' relationships with the mothers of their young children (infants and toddlers) were related to fathering. In general, higher quality father-mother relationships were related to greater father involvement with children; when mothers were perceived as barriers to involved fathering fathers also had less accurate and adaptive parenting knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. Person-centered analyses revealed quite complex relations between father-mother relationships and father-child interaction. One pattern showed strong positive father-mother relationships associated with a disengaged pattern of father-child interaction, while another pattern showed sensitive and positive father-child engagement in the context of negative or distant father-mother relationships. Four patterns of association between fathering and mother-father relationships were demonstrated. Results highlight the complexity of understanding fathering and family relationships among young fathers. (Author abstract)

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