Antecedents of Fathering: Some Further Exploration

Rachel Levy-Shiff, Ruth Israelashvili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Antecedents of fathers' caregiving and affiliative behaviors were examined in a short-term longitudinal study for a heterogeneous sample of 68 Israeli first-time fathers. Data were collected from fathers and mothers during pregnancy and while the infants were 9 months old, using questionnaires and nonstructured observations in a home setting. Regression analyses showed that personal and contextual sources were almost equally influential in determining the various aspects of fathering. Personality dimensions of autonomy as well as sensitivity, perception, and openness to experience predicted caregiving, whereas affiliation predicted playful behaviors. Viewing fatherhood as a self-enriching experience that gratifies psychological and social needs was predictive of caregiving and play. Marital satisfaction was more influential in determining both aspects of fathering than was marital consensus over family affairs. Fathers' occupational prestige was not found to be significant in predicting caregiving, but to be important in determining the extent of paternal involvement in other modes of interaction. Non-Western ethnic origin negatively predicted caregiving but positively predicted affiliative behaviors. Finally, marriage was found to be associated with fathers' personality. This suggests that the transfer from the quality of the couple's relationships to the parent-child relationships may be in part a function of personal variables, because men with certain personalities tend to participate in their families, both as caring husbands and fathers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-440
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1988


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