FATHERHOOD RESEARCH

Third Party Funding: JF 2013-1049 (Jacobsfoundation); 2,000,000.00 €

Research Spot 1: Father-Child Activities and Play

Past research on diary data and self-reports has shown that fathers may enjoy a disproportionate amount of the more pleasurable aspects of child care, whereas mothers experience a disproportionate amount of the more demanding aspects of caring. While mothers mostly carry out the child care tasks that have to be done at certain times (dressing, feeding, transporting), fathers take over the more irregular and time flexible tasks (e.g., playing and reading, which can be done at their discretion). Based on an ambulant assessment of father’s smartphones, which allowed for an experienced time-sampling procedure, we investigated father-child activities over an entire week. In addition, we specifically analyzed types of play activities, wondering whether fathers carry out play behaviors differently from mothers.

Associates: Bernhard Piskernik, Lukas Teufl, Nina Ruiz, and Lieselotte Ahnert

Research Spot 2: Fathers as Co-Parents

Research has been increasingly dealing with fatherhood from the perspective of workload and work-life balance, particularly if both parents are employed. Here, we focus on the partnership constellations based on joint employment and work centrality, and investigate fathers’ perceived stress as compared to the mothers, as well as characteristics of sharing parenting (e.g., maternal gatekeeping), and the partnership quality (e.g., marital satisfaction). Furthermore, developmental consequences of fathers’ involvement in the child care are explored, looking at child language competence, goal orientation and achievement motivation, as well as frustration tolerance.

Associates: Lukas Teufl, Barbara Supper, Felix Deichmann, and Lieselotte Ahnert

Research Spot 3: Stepfathers and Patchwork Families

Human evolutionary legacy points to the fact that fathers, unlike mothers, may, but do not have to, invest in children. We are convinced that this proposal can be approached most effectively in a sample of stepfathers as well as fathers from patchwork families. Here, we ask in which ways stepfathers with and without a joint biological child differ in terms of amount and type of their investment, and of their relationship qualities towards the children who live with them. We search for an answer to the question (which has been asked repeatedly in past literature of evolutionary psychology) of whether step-fathering contains a risk potential for the quality in father-child relationships.

Associates: Lukas Teufl, Harald Euler, and Lieselotte Ahnert