Fathers' Parenting and Early Child Development
AbstractParents are the primary providers of nurturing care for young children’s healthy early development. However, the parenting literature during early childhood has primarily focused on mothers. Consequently, much less is known about fathers and early child development, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This mixed methods dissertation combines two empirical quantitative papers and one qualitative paper to examine the roles of fathers for their young children under age-5 years in LMICs, and particularly Pakistan.
The first paper examines the association between paternal stimulation, measured by fathers’ involvement in play and learning activities, in relation to children’s developmental outcomes and growth, in 38 LMICs using the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. This paper shows that paternal stimulation positively relates to children’s Early Childhood Development Index scores; and moreover, that the association between paternal stimulation and children’s development scores is moderated by levels of stimulation received from other sources. The second paper uses data from a large randomized controlled trial with a longitudinal follow up, the Pakistan Early Development Scale-Up (PEDS) study. This paper investigates underlying paternal and maternal parenting mechanisms that may explain longer-term improvements in children’s cognitive and socioemotional development outcomes at age 4. Findings reveal that some of the positive intervention effects are mediated through increased levels of maternal stimulation, increased levels of paternal stimulation, and bidirectional relations between maternal and paternal stimulation over time. The third paper is based on primary data collected from a qualitative study in Naushero Feroze, Pakistan – the same community where the PEDS trials has been ongoing. Through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with fathers and mothers, this paper explores the nature of fathers’ interactions and involvement with their young children, fathers’ perceptions around parenting, and fathers’ contributions both as caregivers and also partners in the parenting team of a child. This qualitative study provides a detailed understanding of paternal roles in children’s early health and development, compares similarities and differences in paternal and maternal roles, and highlights factors that contribute to and explain such divisions in parenting roles between caregivers in this specific cultural setting of rural Pakistan.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:37945641