Social Science Research
Intergenerational transmissions extend across a number of family-related behaviors, including marriage timing, fertility, and divorce. Surprisingly, few studies investigate the link between the fathering men experience and the fathering they ultimately engage in. I use data on the grandfathers and fathers of the 2001 U.S. birth cohort - measured in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (N=4050) - to test whether men's perception of the parenting they received influences their subsequent paternal self-assessments and behaviors. I find a nonlinear association between experiencing warm fathering and men's self-assessed parenting quality and stress. Men with particularly warm fathers are more likely to report being good fathers themselves. Those who report having the harshest fathers also exhibit better paternal self-perceptions and lower stress. Perceptions of paternal warmth show similar associations with men's fathering engagement. This research sheds light on the significance of family dynamics and how a legacy of fathering may contribute to inequality. (Author abstract)
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