Title

Perceived paternal warmth, paternal involvement, and youths' psychological adjustment in a rural, biracial southern community

Date of Completion

January 1996

Keywords

Anthropology, Cultural|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study is to explore the relationships between youths' perceived paternal acceptance-rejection (warmth) and paternal permissiveness-strictness (control), paternal involvement in the socialization of youth, and youths' psychological adjustment and school functioning in a rural, biracial, primarily working class community in Georgia, USA. This research explores the question: Is paternal involvement by itself associated significantly with variations in youths' psychological and/or school functioning, or does paternal involvement influence youths' psychological and/or school functioning only insofar as it is perceived by youths to be a form of paternal warmth and/or control? The secondary purpose of this study is to explore ethnic and social class differences in paternal involvement, perceived paternal warmth and control, and youths' psychological adjustment and school functioning. This research also examined Black and White fathers' beliefs about fathers' and mothers' roles, and it investigated the relationships between these beliefs and the behaviors of the community's Black and White fathers. The sample consisted of twenty-two Black and thirty-six White fathers and their sixty-three children, drawn from a larger sample of 281 children in grades three through twelve. The results of a multiple regression analysis indicate that paternal involvement by itself does not make a direct and unique contribution to youths' psychological adjustment and school functioning. However, paternal involvement does make an indirect contribution to youths' psychological adjustment, but only insofar as it is perceived by youths as a form of paternal warmth. Results also indicate that Black fathers tended to be somewhat more involved with their children than were White fathers, although Black youths reported somewhat less overall psychological well-being than did White youths. Both Black and White fathers tended to view themselves as being very involved and caring parents who frequently shared childrearing and socialization tasks with the youths' mothers. Children of these fathers appeared to support these views, perceiving their fathers as warm and attentive. Black and White fathers tended to hold similar views of their parenting roles and responsibilities. ^