Date of Completion

Spring 5-6-2012

Thesis Advisor(s)

JoAnn Robinson

Honors Major

Human Development and Family Studies


Family, Life Course, and Society | Other Psychology


This study investigated the cognitive-emotional schemas surrounding the father role in 50 young, low-income, Black children in relation to the amount of father involvement in the first 5 years of their lives. These representations were framed within four parenting categories: Nice, Mean, Authoritative, and Authoritarian. Diana Baumrind’s parenting style framework was utilized to create the Authoritative and Authoritarian parenting categories. This question was investigated in low-income families; the impact of gender of the child was also considered. Information on fathers’ involvements in the children’s lives were gathered through interviews and self-reports from the children’s fathers and mothers. Story Stem Narrative video tapes were coded for numerous father parenting representations. Results suggested that children having a biological father involved in their lives increased the likelihood of having positive father representations. Having more years of either a biological father and/or a social father figure involved was associated with Authoritative parenting style representations. Gender differences were observed with respect to representations of Anger in the father figure; boys were observed to associate the father using an Angry Tone with Authoritative, Authoritarian, and Mean parenting styles alike. Girls on the other hand, only associated the father using an Angry Tone with Mean parenting behaviors. The results of this study suggest that the amount of father presence (whether biological or social) is important in order for children to develop positive representations of the father figure.