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Paternal stimulation and father-infant attachment

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This study examined the longitudinal associations between fathers’ observed parenting behaviors and father-infant attachment (n = 58 father-infant dyads). Fathers were observed playing with their infants at 9 months postpartum and were assessed for stimulating behaviors (i.e. physical and/or object stimulation), as well as their sensitivity and intrusiveness. When the infants were 12 to 18 months of age, fathers and infants participated together in the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) to assess father-infant attachment security. Logistic regression analyses revealed that higher levels of paternal stimulation at 9 months postpartum were associated with greater odds of classification as a secure father-infant dyad. Additionally, fathers’ observed intrusiveness at 9 months postpartum moderated this association; greater paternal stimulation was associated with significantly greater odds of father-infant attachment security at low and average levels of paternal intrusiveness, but not at high levels of paternal intrusiveness. This study provides new insight into the paternal behaviors that may foster secure father-infant attachment.
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Keywords: Father-infant attachment; father-child play; intrusiveness; sensitivity; stimulation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA 2: Department of Psychology, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA 3: Department of Human Development and Family Science, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA

Publication date: January 2, 2020

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