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Shared care, father’s involvement in care and family well-being outcomes: A Literature Review

Chung, Heejung (2021) Shared care, father’s involvement in care and family well-being outcomes: A Literature Review. Government Equalities Office, 61 pp. (KAR id:85742)


In recent years, researchers, and policy makers have become increasingly interested in how men and women share caring responsibilities in light of efforts to tackle the persistent gender pay gaps present in most societies. Research over the last two decades has begun to uncover the benefits of fathers’ increased involvement with their children on various outcomes such as, children’s emotional, psychological and educational development, their future careers and future division of housework. Research has also discovered the positive outcomes on family relationships such as a reduction in separation and divorce. This report aims to provide an extensive literature review of what we know thus far about the positive outcomes of father’s involvement in childcare and the negative outcomes when fathers are not involved. It also aims to unravel both the positive and potentially negative outcomes of mothers’ employment, as well as the positive outcomes of shared care between parents, particularly the positive impact shown for parental wellbeing. Below are some of our key findings. Father’s involvement in childcare improves children’s emotional well-being, cognitive development and academic achievement, and is good for fathers themselves; Father’s involvement in childcare and mother’s employment can help produce a more gender equal society for the future generation; Equal division of childcare and housework amongst couples helps reduce parental stress, especially for mothers, increases relationship satisfaction, and thus decreases the likelihood of divorce/relationship dissolution.

In summary, we conclude that equal division of housework and childcare matters not only for children’s outcomes but also for parental well-being outcomes, which come full circle to influence children’s outcomes. In some of the studies we examined, and in other more recent opinion surveys of couples conducted in the UK (Working Families, 2017), both men and women say that they would like a more equal division of childcare between them, but are not able to achieve them. As this literature review shows, when fathers are better able to take a larger role in the household, both families and society as a whole benefits .

Item Type: Research report (external)
Additional information: "This research was commissioned under the previous government and before the covid-19 pandemic. As a result the content may not reflect current government policy, and the reports do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements. The views expressed in this report are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect those of the government." -- Cover.
Uncontrolled keywords: division of care, gender, housework, well-being, family, fathers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Heejung Chung
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2021 10:02 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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