Father’s involvement: individual and cross-country differences





fatherhood, fathering, determinants of father involvement, family, social policy, hierarchical linear modeling


The research investigates male involvement in childcare as a dimension of fatherhood. The study provides a two-level analysis of determinants and considers structural characteristics, individual’s value orientations and institutional indicators of the environment and their impact on father involvement. The hierarchical linear modeling is applied to evaluate how individual and institutional factors and macro context affect the variability in father involvement. The empirical basis for the research is the ISSP‑2012 data across 26 countries. The study shows that father involvement is dependent on structural and value determinants at both levels. At the individual level, variables describing division of household responsibilities (woman’s contribution to childcare and house chores, woman’s employment and the level of man’s participation in both areas) exert a strong influence. Meanwhile, individual’s religiosity and positive perception of female employment can increase male involvement in childcare. At cross-country level, a modified Esping-Andersen’s typology of welfare states proves its relevance. Simultaneously two regime types have significant effect: liberal regime (higher involvement) and East-European regime (lower involvement). A number of other contextual indicators reflecting the country differences can also differentiate levels of father involvement. Specifically, high female employment corresponds to higher involvement levels, and prevalence of traditional beliefs drastically reduces the levels. All in all, differences of father involvement might be gender-neutral; in this respect, institutional regimes have a potential to overcome father involvement constraints. At the same time, only transformation of the dominant settings related to gender roles can change the situation. Nevertheless, gender attitudes and orientations have a potential to change the situation.