Sociology, Department of


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Published in Fathering, Vol. 9, No. 3, Fall 2011, 232-251. © 2011 by the Men’s Studies Press, LLC. All rights reserved.


Using a non-hierarchical approach to identity theory, we construct a scale to analyze the characteristics associated with the importance of fatherhood in a national sample of male partners (N = 932) of U.S. women of reproductive age, including fathers and non-fathers. OLS multiple regression shows that economic situation is not associated with importance of fatherhood, but valuing career success, higher education, higher religiosity and non-egalitarian gender attitudes (compared to egalitarian) are associated with higher importance of fatherhood scores. Leisure, age, fertility problems, and non-egalitarian gender attitudes are associated with importance of fatherhood scores differently for fathers and non-fathers. Although fathers place a higher value on fatherhood than do non-fathers, non-fathers, especially those who have experienced infertility, also have high importance of fatherhood scores.

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