Determinants of paternal and maternal investment in children

Robert F. Corwyn, Robert H. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study is to investigate the determinants of maternal and paternal socioemotional investment in the child. Participants were part of a substudy at one of 10 sites participating in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care. Sixty-five fathers residing in families already participating in the larger NICHD study were recruited to participate in additional data collection during visits to the families' homes when the target children were 15 months of age. The dependent variables were three subscales (Acceptance and Responsivity, Delight, and Knowledge and Sensitivity) of the Parental Investment in Children (PIC) scale. Based on domains of influence identified by Doherty and colleagues, the relative influence of the following factors were examined; context (income-to-needs), the child (temperament and developmental status), the co-parental relationship (marital quality), the mother's employment status, and the quality of father's employment (strains from work). Differences in the determinants of mothering and fathering were found. For fathers, the child's Bayley score, and father's work strain had a negative influence on paternal acceptance and responsivity, while marital quality had a positive influence and mother employed and father's work strain had a negative influence on knowledge and sensitivity. None of the predictors influenced paternal delight. For maternal acceptance and responsivity, the child's temperament had a negative influence and being employed had a positive influence. Marital quality was a significant predictor of maternal knowledge and sensitivity while father's work strain had a positive impact on maternal delight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-256
Number of pages19
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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