402 Attachment & Involvement

Research by Brown, G. L., Mangelsdorf, S. C., Shigeto, A., & Wong, M. S. (2018).

Written by Shannon Cantalupo, M.S

How do busy fathers interact with their child to fulfill their child’s needs and help them feel loved and attached emotionally?

Psychologists studied a father’s involvement and child’s attachment and feeling safe. They measured how father’s play or care giving interactions impacted the child’s attachment on work days vs. non-workdays.

Eighty fathers filled a time diary to indicate their involvement with their three-year-old child. Reviewing a video of the father-child interaction, researchers rated the child/fathers’ attachment.

Results? On workdays, fathers who engaged in care giving, children had more secure attachments than with fathers who just engaged in play. On non-workdays fathers who engaged in play had more secure attachments. Perhaps workdays fathers responded to their child’s needs through care giving, established closer attachment. However, fathers who tried to play with their child were less responsive to the child’s needs in the restricted time they had together.

Fathers! The key to building secure attachments is being flexible interacting with your child. When rushed, pay attention to your child’s needs. When you have more time, relax! Play with your child. Give your full attention. Have fun!


Brown, G. L., Mangelsdorf, S. C., Shigeto, A., & Wong, M. S. (2018). Associations between father involvement and father-child attachment security: Variations based on timing and type of involvement. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(8), 1015-1024

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