Parent characteristics as antecedents of maternal gatekeeping and fathering behavior.Fam Process. 2008 Dec; 47(4):501-19.FP
The present study examined the role of prebirth parent characteristics as predictors of maternal gatekeeping (mothers' attempts to encourage or discourage fathers' interaction with their infant) and fathering behavior. Parents' idealization of their relationships within their families of origin, beliefs about the roles of fathers, and personality attributes (negative emotionality and communion) were assessed before their infant's birth. At 3.5 months postpartum, maternal gatekeeping behaviors (negative control, facilitation) and fathers' involvement and competence with their infants were assessed during observation of triadic play and child care. Results suggest reciprocal relations between maternal gatekeeping and fathering behavior. Furthermore, greater paternal communion was associated with greater paternal competence during play, whereas greater maternal communion was associated with lower paternal competence during child care. Greater maternal communion and greater maternal idealization related to fathers' lower relative involvement during play. As for maternal gatekeeping behavior, high negative emotionality in 1 parent was only accompanied by high levels of inhibitory maternal gatekeeping when the other parent had less progressive beliefs about the father's role. The implications of these findings for clinicians and practitioners are discussed.