Paternal involvement in childcare: how can it be classified and what are the key influences

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Establishing a clear definition of 'paternal involvement' is important in light of debates about what the concept means and how it might be measured. The debates about how to conceptualise 'paternal involvement' in childcare are reviewed in the first section of this paper. I demonstrate how Lamb et al's (1987) three dimensions of paternal involvement - accessibility, responsibility and engagement - continue to provide a comprehensive way of summarising a plethora of parental activities that are not bound by time, locality or age of child. The second section of this paper discusses some of the key policy, workplace and individual factors that interact to shape and influence the three dimensions of involvement. Using Sen's (1992) capabilities framework, I argue that while fathers may have the motivation and desire to be an involved parent, structural factors often hinder their capbilities to be involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-105
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Paternal involvement; fathers; fatherhood; fathering; childcare; housework;engagement; responsibility; accessibility


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