Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Paternal Work Stress and Latent Profiles of Father-Infant Parenting Quality

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Paternal Work Stress and Latent Profiles of Father-Infant Parenting Quality

Article excerpt

The current study used latent profile analysis (LPA) to examine the implications of fathers' experiences of work stress for paternal behaviors with infants across multiple dimensions of parenting in a sample of fathers living in nonmetropolitan communities (N = 492). LPA revealed five classes of fathers based on levels of social-affective behaviors and linguistic stimulation measured during two father-infant interactions. Multinomial logistic regression analyses suggested that a less supportive work environment was associated with fathers' membership in multiple lower quality parenting classes. Greater work pressure and a nonstandard work schedule also predicted fathers' membership in the latent parenting classes, although these associations differed depending on the number of hours fathers spent in the workplace.

Key Words: families and work, fathers, latent class analysis, occupational stress, paternal employment.

Over the past several decades, researchers have increasingly recognized that work stress can shape the quality of fathers' relationships with their children. Previous research indicates that a variety of occupational stressors predict lower quality parent -child interactions, including long hours at work, nonstandard work schedules, high levels of job pressure, and low levels of workplace support (e.g., Davis, Crouter, & McHaIe, 2006; Greenberger, O'Neil, & Nagel, 1994; National Institute of Child Heath & Human Development, Early Child Care Research Network [NICHD ECCRN], 2000; Repetti, 1994). These studies are consistent with a role stress perspective on the work -family interface, which suggests that experiences of occupational stress may negatively impact the quality of parent -child relationships through the negative effects of work stress on parents as individuals (e.g., B?iger, DeLongis, Kessler, & Wethington, 1989).

Although progress has been made in identifying specific workplace characteristics that predict variations in parenting quality, less is known about whether and how experiences of workplace stress may shape father -infant interactions (for exceptions, see Goldberg, Clarke-Stewart, Rice, & Dellis, 2002; Goodman, Crouter, Lanza, Cox and the Family Life Project Key Investigators, 2008;Volling & Belsky, 1991). Further, many studies have taken a more traditional variable-oriented approach to the study of work stress and fathers' parenting, rather than a holistic or "person-oriented" approach. As defined by Bergman and Trost (2006), a variable-oriented approach is one in which the focus is on measuring discrete variables and studying their associations over time, typically using some form of linear modeling (e.g., regression, structural equation modeling). In contrast, person-oriented approaches examine the individual as an integrated whole, identifying groups of individuals who share similar profiles across multiple indicators (e.g., cluster analysis, latent class analysis, latent profile analysis). Thus, a person-oriented approach, such as latent profile analysis (LPA), can be used to organize similar fathers into subgroups based on an entire set of parenting characteristics. Further, although variable-oriented approaches have expanded our understanding of work stress effects on discrete parenting behaviors, examining these associations using a person-oriented approach may offer unique insight into work -family relations by focusing on the associations between work stress and parenting as a holistic process.

In the case of fathers, it is possible that work stress may negatively impact multiple dimensions of parenting, with potential implications for children's development. A considerable body of research suggests that both social -affective (e.g., warmth, sensitivity, and engagement) and linguistic (e.g., amount and complexity of language) dimensions of fathers' parenting contribute to a broad range of child outcomes. For example, fathers' sensitive and supportive involvement is associated with children's later social and cognitive development, including fewer internalizing and externalizing behavior problems, greater social competence with peers, greater attachment security, and greater problem solving ability and receptive vocabulary (e. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.