Fathers’ Parenting and Coparenting Behavior in Dual-Earner Families: Contributions of Traditional Masculinity, Father Nurturing Role Beliefs, and Maternal Gate Closing

Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan, Kevin Shafer, Eric L. Olofson, Claire M. Kamp Dush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated whether dual-earner fathers’ adherence to traditional masculine norms, father nurturing role beliefs, and maternal gate closing behavior predicted the quality of new fathers’ observed parenting and coparenting behavior. Data were drawn from a longitudinal study of the transition to parenthood among 182 dual-earner different-sex couples. Expectant fathers reported their masculine agency, hostile sexism, gendered provider beliefs, and father nurturing role beliefs in the third trimester of pregnancy. Maternal gate closing behavior was coded from observations of mother–father–infant interaction at 3 months postpartum. At 9 months postpartum, the quality of fathers’ parenting behavior was coded from observations of father–infant interaction, and the quality of fathers’ coparenting behavior was coded from observations of mother–father–infant interaction. Structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses indicated that fathers who held stronger father nurturing role beliefs showed more positive parenting behavior and less undermining coparenting behavior. Fathers higher in masculine agency also showed more positive parenting behavior. Mothers’ greater gate closing behavior was linked to less positive parenting and less supportive coparenting behavior by fathers. More positive couple behavior observed prenatally was also associated with better parenting and coparenting by fathers. These results highlight the complexity of relations of traditional masculinity, father role beliefs, and maternal gate closing with the quality of new fathers’ behaviors with children and partners in dual-earner families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-550
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Volume22
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Coparenting
  • Dual earner families
  • Fathering
  • Masculinity
  • Parenting

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