A NATURALISTIC OBSERVATION STUDY OF PATERNAL NURTURANCE AND CHILD EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMost research on parents has been focused on the mother. Recent studies however have showed that the father plays a pivotal role in child cognitive and socio-emotional development. The aim of this study was to look for associations between father characteristics, paternal nurturance behaviors and toddler emotional expression. Fathers (N=57) with a toddler between the ages of 1 and 3 wore the EAR for two consecutive days. Research assistants coded the resulting sound files for paternal nurturance behaviors and toddler emotional expressions. As expected, fathers who engaged in more physical play, non-physical play, gave praise or encouragement and playful, silly and goofy behaviors had toddlers that laughed or giggled more. Unexpectedly, fathers who engaged in non-physical play, gave praise or encouragement and showed affection had toddlers who fussed, whined or cried more. Also, contrary to our hypothesis, only one paternal nurturance behavior was associated with father characteristics. Future research should look more closely at the context of these paternal nurturance behaviors and toddler emotional expressions. While this study found significant associations, more research should be done on father-toddler interaction either with the EAR or traditional observational methods.
Degree ProgramHonors College