Which fathers are the most involved in taking care of their toddlers in the UK? An investigation of the predictors of paternal involvement

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Economic provisioning continues to be the essence of 'good' fathering, and the work schedules associated with fathers' employment remain a key factor which shapes their involvement in childcare and domestic work at home. However, the relative impact of fathers' and mothers' employment hours on paternal involvement in childcare is unclear, and little is known about the longer-term impact, that is, whether a work arrangement organised when the child is under a year old has an impact on paternal involvement when the child is aged three. Here we focus on employed couples and explore the association that mothers' and fathers' employment hours have with paternal involvement when their child is three years old. Multivariate analysis using the UK's Millennium Cohort Study reveals that it is the mothers' employment hours when the child is aged three that has the largest association with paternal involvement in childcare at this stage in the child's life, independent of what hours the father works. Furthermore, both fathers' and mothers' employment hours when the child was nine months old have a longitudinal influence on paternal involvement when the child reaches three years old, but it is the hours worked by the mother when the child was aged nine months that has the stronger association with paternal involvement at age three. This suggests that mothers' work schedules are more important than fathers' for fostering greater paternal involvement in both the immediate and longer term. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-180
Number of pages17
JournalCommunity, Work and Family
Issue number2
Early online date18 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

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