Measuring paternal involvement in childcare and housework

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There is currently no quantitative tool for measuring paternal involvement in childcare and housework. To address this, we run Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) on a sample of households from the 2001-02 sweep of the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study. Two quantitative measures of paternal involvement in childcare and housework are derived for when the child is aged nine months old, which appear to be isomorphic with two dimensions of Michael Lamb’s paternal involvement: engagement and responsibility. Two, moderately correlated latent variables are produced, which are then used to explore employment and socio-demographic characteristics of involved fathers. Our results show that paternal engagement and responsibility are correlated, albeit weakly, with fathers’ employment hours, education and gender role attitudes. The strongest correlation is with mothers’ employment hours, which suggests that mothers’ employment schedules are more important than fathers’ for fostering paternal involvement when the child is aged nine months old. There are also variations in paternal engagement and responsibility according to ethnicity, which suggests cultural differences might interact with the ability of fathers to be involved. This highlights the need for further exploratory analyses on variations of paternal involvement by different ethnic classifications, which has been fairly limited to date.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2015


  • Fathers, fatherhood, involvement, childcare, engagement, responsibility, housework, employment hours, ethnicity, Confirmatory Factor Analysis


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