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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kirby Deater-Deckard

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology


In the past decade, developmental research has seen a surge of work regarding fathers and their influences of various aspects of child outcomes- cognitive and socioemotional. Studies show that father involvement, or “quantity” of time the father spends with the child, as well as fathering “quality”, or the characteristics marking the father-child relationship (warmth, supportiveness, sensitivity etc.), can both contribute to variance in the development of individual differences in child outcomes such as language skills, academic success and psychological well-being. One facet of adaptive development, self-regulation (SR), is a robust and consistent predictor of high academic success, fulfilling interpersonal relationships, and overall life satisfaction. SR has been studied extensively in its relation to mother parenting effects. Some work with fathers shows that positive fathering (autonomy-supportiveness, sensitivity, responsiveness, cognitive stimulation) is related to higher levels of SR- both cognitive and emotional. However, no fathering studies to our knowledge have looked at the potential additive or interactive effects of fathering quantity of involvement and quality of caretaking on self-regulatory capacity in children. In this study, I used a sample of fathers and 3-5-year-olds in two urban cities (Springfield, MA and Philadelphia PA, N = 88 dyads) to examine the relationship between father involvement (self-reported “quantity”) and father parenting behaviors (observed and self-reported “quality”) on child self-regulation (cognitive regulation, measured as observed executive function [EF], and emotion regulation, measured as father-reported effortful control [EC]). Results showed that quantity of father involvement and fathering positivity (warm affect, responsiveness, positive control) showed a crossover interaction effect to predict variance in child EF and EC (controlling for family socioeconomic status and child vocabulary skills). Father involvement was positively predictive of higher levels of EF and EC only when the quality of fathering was high in positivity (self-reported). When fathering was low in positivity (self-reported), the relationship between quantity of father involvement and child EF and EC became negative. This work points to the importance of taking a comprehensive view when assessing paternal parenting effects on development and also suggest potential targets for fathering intervention studies.