• Patricia Short Tomlinson RN, PhD,

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    • Patricia Short Tomlinson, RN, PhD, received her Ph.D. from Oregon State University in human development and family studies in 1984. Her M.N. was earned at the University of Washington in 1973. She is presently Associate Professor and Scholar, Maternal Child Family Research, University of Minnesota School of Nursing, and Adjunct Associate Professor in Family Social Science, University of Minnesota.

  • Marilyn A. Rothenberg RN, MS, CNM,

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    • Marilyn A. Rothenberg, RN, MS, CNM, received her B.S.N. from Wayne State University in 1978 and her M.S. in nurse-midwifery from the University of Minnesota in 1987. She is currently a member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and works at Hutzell Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, as a certified nurse-midwife.

  • Linda D. Carver RN, MS, CNM

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    • Linda D. Carver, RN, MS, CNM, received her B.S. in nursing from Moorhead State University in 1984 and her M.S. in nurse-midwifery from the University of Minnesota in 1987. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, ANA, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives. She currently is employed at Dakota Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota, as a certified nurse-midwife.

6–101 HSUF, School of Nursing, University of Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN 55455.


This study describes paternal behaviors of first-time fathers with their partner and newborn immediately after birth and identifies a progression of behaviors with the infant within the first 15 minutes after birth. Videotapes were made of 24 first-time fathers observed at birth in a traditional delivery room setting. Utilizing an ethological approach to define behavioral codes, episodes of paternal behavior were measured with time interval sampling. Using a modified frequency method, behaviors were identified in four main categories: proximity, gaze, touch, and movement. The analysis showed that proximity and gaze were high-frequency behaviors and touch and movement were low-frequency behaviors. A progression of behaviors was identified, with gaze starting out high and diminishing, proximity and movement increasing over time, and touch remaining low but constant. Limitations of the setting and implications for clinical practice and research are discussed.