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Evolution of scientific research on fatherhood

Research Article

Irina O. Shevchenko Doctor of Sociology
Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0009-0003-0915-4129
Evolution of scientific research on fatherhood.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2023. Vol. 14. No. 3. P. 175-196

The work was carried out within the framework of the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH) project "National Model of Gender Equality: Interdisciplinary and Expert Approach" (competition "RSUH Project Research Teams").

Дата поступления статьи: 13.06.2023
Topic: Transformation of social roles in modern society

For citation:
Shevchenko I. O. Evolution of scientific research on fatherhood. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2023. Vol. 14. No. 3. P. 175-196
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2023.14.3.12. EDN: YEPMWN


This article analyses the transformation of scientific perspectives on fathers and fatherhood. The scientific study of issues related to fathers and fatherhood in developed foreign countries began in the mid-20th century and is associated with the proliferation of family institution problems: increasing divorces, remarriages, stepfamilies, consensual unions, and the rising birth rates of children born outside of marriage. In Russia, this issue began to attract researchers' attention in the 1990s, as similar trends were observed in our country. It was found that the decline in fathers' authority and their reduced contribution to child socialisation lead to problems within families and socio-psychological difficulties for their children.

During the 1970s and 1980s, it was discovered that a father's contribution to a child's development is irreplaceable because he serves as a role model for boys and as a future partner model for girls. Family work performed by both mothers and fathers complements each other.

Thus, the significance of fatherhood in terms of parent-child relationships and its contribution to a child's upbringing were emphasised. In foreign countries, social policies began to change to support fathers. From the 1990s to 2010s, researchers noted the spread of the so-called "new" or "involved" or "responsible" fatherhood, characterised by fathers' active involvement in child rearing from birth, a redistribution of labour responsibilities in favour of family duties, and a father's engagement in the daily affairs of the family. It was revealed that involved fathers have stronger and warmer relationships with their children. However, it is acknowledged that there are still not enough involved fathers.

During their research, scientists have come to the idea that paternal qualities are, on one hand, developed through the process of socialisation of future fathers, and on the other hand, there are natural, nature-inherent aspects of paternal behaviour. Paternal qualities are to a significant extent constructed by society based on the value orientations that are considered significant in that particular society during a specific historical period. Currently, the biosocial concept is the most common research approach to issues related to fathers and fatherhood.


 father, fatherhood, family, child, socialization

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