The role of value priorities in paternal and maternal involvement in child care

Ruth Gaunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This study used the theory of human values to explore parents' involvement with their children. The relationships between maternal and paternal value priorities and various forms of involvement in child care were examined in a sample of 209 couples with 1 child between 6 and 36 months of age. As predicted, giving high priority to openness-to-change values (e.g., self-direction, stimulation) and low priority to conservation values (e.g., tradition, conformity, security) is associated with more father involvement and less mother involvement. Moreover, and as predicted, the priority given by a spouse to achievement values is negatively related to this spouse's involvement in child care and positively related to the other spouse's involvement. Parents' sociodemographic characteristics partly mediate the associations between value priorities and involvement. The findings also indicate the importance of distinguishing different forms of involvement in child care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-655
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Child care
  • Father involvement
  • Parenting
  • Value priorities


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