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Father Involvement in Childrearing and the Perceived Stability of Marriage

Matthijs Kalmijn
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 61, No. 2 (May, 1999), pp. 409-421
DOI: 10.2307/353758
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353758
Page Count: 13
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Father Involvement in Childrearing and the Perceived Stability of Marriage
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Abstract

The central hypothesis of this article, that large investments by fathers in childrearing are associated with high marital stability, is tested against two competing hypotheses about marital stability. The hypotheses are examined using data from a national survey of households in the Netherlands. Investments are measured with retrospective questions about the degree to which fathers were involved in childrearing tasks. Divorce is measured indirectly, with questions about husbands' and wives' perceptions of the stability of their marriage. Multivariate analyses indicate that when fathers are more involved in childrearing, they have a stabler marriage. When indicators of the wife's marital satisfaction are included, however, the effect of the father's involvement disappears. Involved fathers have stabler marriages, not because they have much investment to lose after a possible breakup, but because the wife is happier if the husband is strongly involved with the children.

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