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Nurs Res. 1995 Mar-Apr;44(2):89-95.

Predictors of role competence for experienced and inexperienced fathers.

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  • 1College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson.


Paternal competence was compared for 79 experienced fathers (one or more children) and 93 inexperienced (first-time) fathers at early postpartum, 1, 4, and 8 months following birth. No differences in paternal competence by previous experience in the father role were found at any test period, nor did the trajectories of change differ between the two groups. Paternal competence means at 4 and 8 months did not differ, but were significantly higher than 1-month means. During the 8-month period, 30% to 61% of the variance in experienced men's paternal competence was explained; the range for inexperienced men was 31% to 49%. Depression was a major predictor for experienced fathers at 1, 4, and 8 months; partner relationships were predictive at 1 and 4 months. Sense of mastery and family functioning were consistent predictors for inexperienced fathers, who also reported greater anxiety and depression than experienced fathers at 4 and 8 months after birth.

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