This study explored the effects of paternal commitment on the quality of life of fathers. Data were gathered from 56 fathers who had at least one child under the age of 10 years. Respondents completed self-report measures that assessed their level of involvement with the children, proportion of contribution to the family income, perception of social supports, as well as objective and subjective quality of life.
Higher levels of involvement with the children together with a greater contribution to family finances were related to fathers scoring lower on both the objective and subjective domains of the quality of life measure. It appears that the poorer quality of life scores might be attributed to fathers experiencing role-overload.
A second finding was that a greater contribution to family finances predicted higher subjective quality of life scores. This positive relationship suggests that the breadwinner-role still features in the paternal script.
Finally, a negative association was found between the level of involvement with the children and perceived social supports. That is, fathers who remained at home appeared to suffer from greater social isolation.
In conclusion, while the image of the involved father might be popular, the reality of being a co-parent includes substantial costs in terms of psychological wellbeing and social support.
Greater research and policy attention is required to develop support structures for stay at home fathers and to enable men to achieve a more effective balance between work and family commitments.
Paternal Commitment and Father’s Quality of LifeThomas A. Whelan , Catherine M.E. Lally Journal of Family Studies Vol. 8, Iss. 2, 2002
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