Date of Award

2001

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Human Development

Advisor

Sandra L. Caron

Second Committee Member

Marc D. Baranowski

Third Committee Member

Theodore Coladarci

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship of school-related stress with the degree and type of involvement fathers have with their children under age 12 while enrolled as a student at the university level. Thirty-eight fathers responded to self-administered surveys measuring the degree of academic stress they experience and the frequency of involvement with their children in terms of direct interaction with child, accessibility to child, and responsibility assumed for child. The degree of psychological presence of the child to the father and marital satisfaction were also measured. Hypothesis 1 stated that student fathers experiencing high academic stress will have low father involvement, in terms of direct interaction, accessibility, and responsibility. Hypothesis 1 was not supported. Hypothesis 2 stated that daily caregiving activities will not be correlated with the degree of academic stress. Hypothesis 2 was supported. In a further investigation of fathers and their children, psychological presence of child to father was significantly and negatively correlated with academic stress. It was significantly and positively correlated with father involvement. Regression analyses found that when controlling for father's age and number of children, academic stress was a marginally significant predictor of psychological presence. Also, a suppressor effect appeared for number of children and psychological presence when controlling for father's age and academic stress. Number of children was a marginally significant predictor of psychological presence but only when psychological presence was included in the model. Possible explanations for this finding are discussed, as are limitations of the study, and directions for future research.

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