Fathers' participation in family research: is there a self-selection bias?

J Fam Psychol. 2001 Dec;15(4):706-20. doi: 10.1037//0893-3200.15.4.706.


The representativeness of fathers who participate in family research was examined among 661 families. Approximately two thirds of eligible fathers participated. Mothers' and observers' reports on families of participating and non-participating fathers were compared. Participating fathers underrepresented fathers with less education, later-born children, more ambivalent marriages, partners with more traditional child-rearing beliefs, families with less optimal parenting environments, and infants who were unplanned, had more difficult temperaments, and were less healthy. Also underrepresented were ethnic minority families and working-class fathers. However, no differences were found in regard to child gender, family income, mothers' psychosocial functioning, either parent's employment experiences, or child-care arrangements. Implications for the generalizability of findings and the recruitment of fathers are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection / statistics & numerical data
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data
  • Fathers / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Research / statistics & numerical data
  • Selection Bias