Father participation in child care: A critical review


  • Ms. Linda R. Cronenwett

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    • Ms. Linda R. Cronenwett is a doctoral candidate in clinical nursing research and co-investigator on the Parenting Assessment Project at the School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Nurses have provided much of the impetus for including fathers in perinatal activities during the last decade. Little is known, however, about what happens to father participation in child care after the family leaves the hospital. The major difficulty in interpreting father participation research is that no two studies use the same definition or measure of father participation. Findings are therefore, difficult to integrate into a meaningful conceptual framework which could guide practice. The purpose of this paper is to review past studies of father participation, extract the definitions of father participation implied by the measures used, discuss the methodological problems of measuring father participation, and develop guidelines for future measures that might advance this body of research.