A father’s participation in a child’s life has been regarded as a significant factor in the enhancement of a couple’s relationship. Although the investigations between paternal behavior and marital satisfaction come with mixed results, they clearly link the concepts of maternal and paternal role expectations to paternal behavior, which can be also moderated by earner status, child’s gender, and traditional versus contemporary role expectations. Research needs to focus on examining how individuals’ perceptions of role expectations relate to fathers’ actual parenting behavior. Therefore, a framework that outlines the interaction between and among these variables is developed, as supported by recent literature as a guide for future research directives.

Key Take Away Points

  • Build a conceptual framework to study fathering behavior.
  • Explore research questions: 1) Does the difference between individual perceptions of roles of fathering and actual behavior have a bearing on the performance of these roles? and 2) Does the difference between expectations of fathering behavior and actual behavior result in differences of marital satisfaction?
  • Provide a graphic presentation of the conceptual framework that focuses on examining how individuals’ perceptions of role expectations relate to fathers’ actual parenting behavior.

Author Biography

Mark Trahan, LCSW, is a doctoral student at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and a licensed clinical social worker providing clinical services to young adult couples, families, and fathers. He has previously taught as an adjunct professor and a teaching fellow at the University of Houston with a focus on transtheoretical practice. Mark is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Alpha Honor Societies and appointed as a faculty member with the Institute for Spirituality and Health.

Monit Cheung, MA, MSW, PhD, LCSW, is Professor at the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston. She is Principal Investigator of the Child Welfare Education Project, a state partnership program funded federally by Title IV-E for training child welfare social workers, and Associate Director of the Child and Family Center for Innovative Research. She has been a social worker for 35 years and is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in play therapy, family counseling, child/adolescent counseling, child protection, sexual and domestic violence, and incest survivor treatment. She has practiced as a volunteer clinician by providing counseling and case consultation at the Asian American Family Services, and served as a consultant trainer for the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department and the Hong Kong Police Force. Using an experiential and practice-oriented approach in teaching, Dr. Cheung has taught at the graduate level for 25 years. She has presented in 212 workshops and conferences and written 427 articles, books, book chapters, and research reports on child protection and parenting issues in English and Chinese. Her research interests are related to treatment effectiveness in the areas of child sexual abuse, creative family therapy, therapeutic touch, and immigrant adjustment. Dr. Cheung currently serves on the Diocesan Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People at the Diocese of Galveston-Houston, Advisory Board Member of Catholic Charities and Asian American Family Services, and the Board of End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation in Hong Kong. In the past ten years, Dr. Cheung received the following awards: 2010 Hall of Fame from the Ohio State University; 2010 Outstanding Faculty Award; 2009 Best Reviewer Award from the Council on Social Work Education; Research Associate at the Center for Public Policy; 2006-2009 Honorary Professorship, University of Hong Kong; 2006 Favorite Faculty Award; 2005 Unsung Hero Award from Channel 39 KHWB-TV; 2004 Golden Harvest Award from the Asian American Family Counseling Center; 2002 YWCA Outstanding Woman Award in Education; 2001 Ervan Chew Award for Community Leadership from the Girl Scout Council; 2000 Outstanding Faculty Award; and 1999-2001 Honorary Research Fellowship with the School of Social & Administrative Studies at Cardiff University, UK.