Promoting Father Involvement—An Analysis and Critique: Comment on Silverstein (1993)

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Abstract

In analyzing the forces that undermine greater fathering involvement in American society, L. B. Silverstein (1993) critiques the views of R. Trivers (1972), J. Belsky, L. Steinberg, and P. Draper (1991), and many sociobiological thinkers regarding the determinants of parenting. Despite the shared view regarding the value of promoting greater father involvement, there are several problems with Silverstein's analysis: (a) casting conservatives as extremists who deny the role of environment in shaping fathering; (b) omitting from the analysis of sociobiology the core notion that organisms adjust their behavior in response to environmental forces in the service of biological, that is, reproductive-fitness, goals; and (c) characterizing Belsky et al.'s theory of socialization as one that minimizes the role of the environment and implies that intervention efforts to foster father involvement are ineffective for biological and developmental reasons.

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