• African American youth and their fathers: Exploring the relationship between perceived nurturance and psychological well-being

      Doyle, Otima; Pecukonis, Edward Vincent (2008)
      Many researchers suggest that mothers and fathers influence children's outcomes through nurturant personal and social characteristics (Lamb & Tamis-LeMonda, 2004), and that father nurturance is universally associated with positive child outcomes (Rohner, 1986; Rohner & Khaleque, 2005). However, empirical evidence related to father nurturance is sparse (Rohner & Veneziano, 2001), particularly among African Americans. Given recent agreement regarding the salience of cultural variation within fatherhood (Lamb & Tamis-LeMonda, 2004), and the limited empirical literature base, the first objective of this dissertation is to identify factors that are predictive of father nurturance. The second objective is to investigate whether youths' perceptions of father nurturance during childhood and adolescence (birth to 18) predict their current level of psychological well-being. Data were collected from 264, 18-25 year old African American college students. Participants completed a self-administered survey consisting of demographic questions and four scales: The Parental Acceptance/Rejection Questionnaire (Rohner & Khaleque, 2005), the Nurturant Fathering Scale (Finley & Schwartz, 2004), The Personality Assessment Questionnaire (Rohner & Khaleque, 2005), and the Sources of Social Support Scale (Friedman, Koeske, Silvestre, Korr, & Sites, 2006). Overall, those who interacted more frequently and over longer periods of time (from birth to 18) with their identified father have higher perceptions of father nurturance. The high percentage of variance accounted for lends partial support to the notion that father nurturance and father involvement are separate, yet interrelated constructs (Schwartz & Finley, 2005b; Williams & Finley, 1997). Those whose mothers and identified fathers were married or cohabitating have lower levels of psychological well-being, and those who perceived greater levels of mother nurturance have higher levels of psychological well-being. The inverse relationship between youths' parents' marital status and youth psychological well-being may speak to the interplay between youths' mothers and fathers and raises a number of questions regarding the specific nature of the marital and cohabitating relationships. Finally, the lack of significance of father nurturance raises questions about potential cultural variations in the definition of the concept itself and the potential need to incorporate additional roles of the father into this definition.