Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John B. Youngberg

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Emilion Garcia-Marenko

Abstract

Problem . Fathers have been assumed to play an important role in the socialization and education of their children. The need to understand the influence and the role of effective fathers becomes especially important in a generation which views fatherlessness as one of the most harmful demographic trends. The Seventh-day Adventist Church considers fatherhood vital for the normal functioning of the family. The present study investigated how selected variables from family background, demographics, and characteristics of present family are related to fathering as measured by self-report of fathering dimensions, practices, and satisfaction.

Method . Two groups of fathers participated in this study. The target sample consisted of 192 fathers from the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists and a reference sample from the National Center for Fathering, comprised of 1,509 religious fathers from North America. Data were collected by means of the Personal Fathering Profile questionnaire. To test the hypotheses, t -tests, analysis of variance, correlation, and regression analysis were used.

Results . The results obtained in this study showed that fathers absence during childhood and divorce of parents affect negatively the future quality of fathering of their sons. Religious affiliation, education, time spent in interaction with children, having family worship, and marital interaction showed positive relationships with most of the measures of fathering quality in both samples. The fathering practices associated with the greatest fathering satisfaction were: spiritual development, marital interaction, and showing affection for the SDA sample, and modeling, showing affection, and marital interaction for NCF. The SDA fathers showed slightly higher overall scores in quality of fathering compared to the NCF fathers.

Conclusions . Fathering quality is conceptualized as a multidimensional construct consisting of psychological, behavioral, and emotional components. The following variables were identified as positive resources for good fathering: presence of father during childhood, completeness of family, religious affiliation, education, time spent with children, family worship, and marital interaction.

Effective fathers are expected to supply love, emotional security, protection, balance, gender model, and spiritual guidance for their children, in order to see them develop to their full human potential. To fulfill this goal, fathers should be involved, consistent, aware of their children's needs, and nurturant.

Subject Area

Fatherhood--Cross-cultural studies, Father and child--Cross-cultural studies, Families--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists

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