Men’s Parenting as an Intergroup Phenomenon: The Influence of Group Dominance, Sexism, and Beliefs About Children on Fathering Attitudes

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Although men’s parenting is often considered as a gender equality issue, we argue that it is also concerned with parent–child intergroup dynamics. Based on social dominance theory, we conducted two studies to investigate the roles of ambivalent sexism (i.e., hostile and benevolent sexism) and beliefs about children (i.e., paternalism and blatant dehumanization) in attitudes toward men’s parenting. Study 1 included a sample of both men and women (N = 210), and Study 2 included only men as participants (N = 202). Using structural equation modeling, we specified path models for each study. Our results demonstrated that, over all, gender ideologies and beliefs about children independently predicted attitudes toward a father’s involvement in parenting (Study 1 and 2) as well as attitudes about parental control (Study 2). The studies suggest the importance of addressing both gender ideologies and paternalistic beliefs about children in understanding men’s attitudes about parenting. Implications on promoting positive parental involvement among men are discussed.

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