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Public PhD Defense of Carolina Santos



Carolina Santos, a PhD candidate in the Doctoral Program in Psychology, will defend the thesis titled "Paternal Involvement: contexts and quality. Its implications for the quality of children’s socio-emotional adjustment". The public defense is scheduled for March 15, 2024, 14:30 at room B328 (Building4) of Iscte-University Institute of Lisbon.



Abstract

Despite fathers increased participation in family's daily-life, especially in childcare, policies promoting children’s healthy development remain mainly focused on mothers, with fathers being often considered as the breadwinner, playmate, or the help when mothers need. Thus, the main goal of this project is to contribute to the growth of knowledge on fathers and their impact on children and sustain new social policies. It’s organized into four studies aiming to: (1) Identify involvement profiles in child-related activities, and explore profile differences between regarding father’s, child’s, and family’s characteristics; (2) Explore how child’s characteristics are associated with father’s involvement; (3) Analyze predictors of involvement, considering fathers’ parenting style, education, working hours, and children’s characteristics; (4) Test the associations between the quality of parenting behaviors, children's OXT levels and behavioral problems. Overall, the results reveled that fathers who were more involved in all dimensions had higher levels of education, sense of efficacy, mother’s working hours, and family income. Also, for younger children, fathers were more involved in teaching/discipline and play with more extroverted daughters: whereas with older children, fathers were more involved in teaching/discipline and play when children were higher on negative-affectivity, particularly with boys. Moreover, for father’s involvement in direct care, his education and work hours were significant predictors; for teaching/discipline, his authoritative style; and for play, his education. An interaction between authoritative style and child negative-affect was found for involvement in teaching/discipline and play. Lastly, father’s sensitivity and intrusiveness were negatively and positively, respectively, associated with children’s internalizing difficulties and oxytocin levels. These results will contribute to promoting an active and positive involvement of the father with an impact on the well-being of children and families.

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