Fathers of Girls, Fathers of Boys: Influence of Child's Gender onFathers' Experience of, Engagement in, and Representations ofPaternity

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The aim of this study was to examine the influence of child's genderon several dimensions of paternity: the fathers' personal experienceof paternity, their involvement in child rearing, and their representations. Atotal of 147 Swiss fathers of 18-month-old children (65 girls and 82 boys) completed questionnaires. The child's gender had little influence onpaternal experience, relationship to the child or relationship with thechild's mother. Globally, the fathers took on few responsibilitieswhich were largely devolved to mothers. Fathers of boys were more involved inchild care than fathers of girls. Finally, a discrepancy was found between thefathers' representations of paternal roles in rearing girls and boysand the actual level of responsibility that fathers adopted in theirrelationship with their child.

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