Chapter IV: In Search of the Father-Infant Activation Relationship: A Person-Centered Approach

Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 2019 Mar;84(1):50-63. doi: 10.1111/mono.12404. Epub 2019 Apr 29.


The current study explored whether fathers and mothers from 195 two-parent U.S. families engaged in a form of activation parenting (i.e., sensitivity, cognitive stimulation, and moderate intrusiveness) with their secondborn, 12-month-old infants during a 15-min challenging teaching task, and to determine if this type of interaction was more common among fathers. Mean comparisons showed that fathers were lower on sensitivity, positive regard, and stimulation of development, and were more detached than mothers. Latent Profile Analyses revealed similar supportive, disengaged, and activation parenting profiles for fathers and mothers, with more fathers in the activation class. Chi-square analyses found significant associations across mothers and fathers; most infants (30%) had activation fathers and mothers, with 26% having supportive mothers and activation fathers, and 11.4% having two supportive parents. Parenting profiles were unrelated to attachment security. Results need to be replicated with children of different ages, with families from different backgrounds, and beyond the challenging teaching paradigm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child Development
  • Father-Child Relations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parenting*
  • Play and Playthings
  • Research
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • United States
  • Video Recording