Title

Father involvement with preschoolers in the home in families with children with disabilities

Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Child and Family Studies

Advisor(s)

Jaipaul Roopnarine

Keywords

Parent involvement, Preschoolers, Home, Families, Children, Disabilities

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology | Sociology

Abstract

This study examined fathers' involvement in the home with their preschool-age children relative to social support, parenting stress, and marital stress. Forty-five sets of parents of 3- to 5-year old children enrolled in preschool programs were participants. Thirty-one children had disabilities and fourteen did not. Twenty-one children who were identified with disabilities were in inclusive programs and ten were in noninclusive programs. Fourteen students without an identified disability were enrolled in typical preschools that did not offer inclusion. Parents completed a questionnaire measuring child-care involvement and providing sociodemographic information, as well as the Parenting Daily Hassles Scale, the Family Support Scale, and the Marital Stress Scale. Fathers showed high levels of proportional engagement (71%), especially with children in noninclusive programs (85%). Fathers were not found to show higher levels of involvement in any of the 8 activities surveyed, but showed the same levels of involvement as mothers in 4 of the 8 activities. Father involvement did not differ, based upon disability type or length of time inclusion. Fathers did not show high levels of marital or parenting stress and were less likely than mothers to rely on social supports, but tended to rely on family sources support when they did. Fathers of children with disabilities were involved in counseling and support groups, had strong family values, viewed their child in positive terms, and were involved in child-care because they desired to do so. No relationships were found between father involvement in child-care and maternal employment, maternal education, or paternal education levels.

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