Sixty-nine maritally intact, middle-class Caucasian families rearing their 15-month-old firstborn male child participated in a study of fathering. Two 1-hr naturalistic home observations per family were conducted near dinnertime to record father-child interactions, which were then used to rate father involvement. Cluster analysis of fathering ratings revealed 4 groups of dads: caretakers, playmates-teachers, disciplinarians, and disengaged fathers. Information on demographics, personality, marital quality, relatedness, moods and hassles, and infant emotionality was gathered via parental reports. Analysis of antecedent variables indicated that the caretaker and playmate-teacher fathers were more educated, had more prestigious occupations, were less neurotic, had more confidence in the dependability of others, and experienced fewer daily hassles than the disciplinarian and disengaged fathers. Discriminant analysis demonstrated the collective ability of the antecedent variables to distinguish the 4 groups of fathers.
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