Fathers and Their Very Young Children: Future Directions

Robert H. Bradley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The biological underpinnings of paternal caregiving derive from the requirements of highly evolved complex organisms and their needs for both extended care and care that adapts to the changing competencies of children as they move from infancy to adulthood. The biological presses that underpin paternal care for children connect to broader survival and reproductive requirements than involve cooperation with other caregivers and the affordances of both the micro and macro environments. Such processes are under exceptional challenge given the rapidly evolving landscape of daily life, the world of work, and family composition. Research must adapt to consider all these factors and to respect the fact that paternal caregiving extends further and further into the adulthood of offspring. Evaluating the quality of paternal behavior during the early childhood must, therefore, look not only to how it promotes well-being during childhood but how it promotes well-being over the life course. Likewise, evaluating the quality of the father-child relationship during early childhood must consider how the quality during the early years promotes father-offspring relationship quality over the life course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Fathers and Child Development
Subtitle of host publicationPrenatal to Preschool
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783030510275
ISBN (Print)9783030510268
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Children with special needs
  • Dynamic systems
  • Employment and parenting
  • Father roles
  • Origins of modern paternal behavior
  • Science and math education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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