The Values of Stay-at-Home and Working Fathers
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Using stay-at-home and working fathers as a lens for exploring differences in values constructs among parents, this research showed some supportive evidence for a current evolution away from traditional, breadwinning fatherhood and toward higher levels of paternal engagement with children. Survey results showed that stay-at-home fathers were significantly more likely to identify as politically as “Democrats” and to rank values of traditionalism, including accepting one’s portion in life, moderation, being devout, respecting tradition, and humility, at lower levels of importance than working fathers. T-tests showed that in both groups, individual respondents ranked these values below the level of importance in their own spectrums of personal values, suggesting that as a whole, while working fathers place more importance on tradition than stay-at-home fathers, both groups are moving away from values associated with the “male as breadwinner” family model that dominated the twentieth century. Because values function within a dynamic world, a sliding and swaying web of influences from other variables, this research is grounded in systems theory and includes a proposed model for helping to visualize and locate values within a larger system.