Factors That Influence Parental Involvement During Infancy, Marital Satisfaction, Infant Temperament, And Maternal Employment Status

Factors That Influence Parental Involvement During Infancy, Marital Satisfaction, Infant Temperament, And Maternal Employment Status

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There are many factors that influence parental involvement during infancy, including marital satisfaction, infant temperament, and maternal employment status, father’s attitude towards parenting, number of children, etc. The current study by Mehall, Spinard, Eisenberg and Gaertner sought to deepen the knowledge of this subject by using a longitudinal study and looking at the relationship between infant temperament and the marital relationship at seven and 14 months of age.
As the societal norm changes and more women are in the workforce, fathers are taking a more active role in childcare. However, there is still a trend whereas mothers are primarily responsible for care-giving roles and fathers are more involved in play with children. Additionally, in the first few months, mothers are more involved than fathers, possibly due to the fact that activities that fathers are more likely to participate in do not occur until the infant reaches an older age. It is also hypothesized that there are different factors that contribute to mother and father involvement. The current study by Mehall et al. looks at infant temperament and marital satisfaction both as possible determinants of parental involvement.
Looking at infant temperament as a predictor of parental involvement, studies have supported the hypothesis that “easier” temperamental babies have more involved parents. Additionally, infants with more “difficult” temperaments are more likely to have parents with lower marital satisfaction, which itself has a positive correlation to parental involvement. To deepen the connections even more, having an infant with a “difficult” temperament may lead parents to having more difficulties in parenting, which ha...


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...at many different aspects of an infant’s life that could contribute to infant involvement. It also uses a diary as a form of recall, allowing a more thorough and accurate report of involvement. Also, while the study only looked at two time points, the fact that is was a longitudinal study is an advantage, for it allowed comparisons to be made across time. Additionally, while the sample may have lacked generalizability, it was a fairly large sample size.
Overall, this was a very thorough study that added to the knowledge in the field. Personally, I found it very informative and helpful, for it closely relates to my proposed thesis looking at the factors that contribute to parental affect. Because this study looked at multiple relations longitudinally, it allowed a very thorough view of the topic, and gave me ideas for how to run my own calculations later on.


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