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Seeking book chapter author for Handbook of Fathers: Prenatal to Preschool

The following team of editors is preparing the Handbook of Fathers: Prenatal to Preschool, Springer Press.

  • Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Ph.D. Michigan State University, Senior Editor

  • Kai von Klitzing, M.D., University of Leipsiz, Germany. Co-Editor

  • Natasha Carbrara, Ph.D. University of Maryland, Co-Editor

  • Thomas Skjothaug, Ph.D. University of Oslo, Norway Co-Editor

  • Julia Scarano de Mendonca, Ph.D. University of Sao Paulo, Brazil Co-Editor

We are inviting you to contribute a chapter on: Fathers and Children’s Language Development

Key Information:

  • Chapters: 35

  • Chapter Length: 8,000 – 10,000 words (32-40 mms pages, double spaced, New Times Roman font) Chapter Length includes text and references, does not include tables and figures)

  • Co-Authors welcome, at discretion of the senior author

  • Chapters Due: July 1, 2019

  • Chapters Peer Reviewed by Editors: July – August 2019

  • Revisions as needed: Due October 1, 2019

  • Book Submitted: October 15, 2019

  • Published: Late Spring 2020

  • Contact: Hiram Fitzgerald,

We hope that you will be able to make a positive response to our invitation to produce a comprehensive volume on the role of the father during pregnancy through very early childhood, and the impact of the baby on the father. Mother-father contrasts, mediation and moderation effects are also welcomed topics. The following is from the Book Proposal that was submitted to Springer. Our next step to Springer’s very positive response is to submit a Proposed Table of Contents.

Thank you for considering this invitation:


Research in human development during the past 50 years has produced unprecedented knowledge about the development of the human being from conception to age five. The vast majority of this work was guided by studies of the importance of the maternal infant/toddler attachment relationship, and on the effects of maternal characteristics on very early development. In 1964 John Nash challenged researchers to focus more on the father, noting that most infants are not reared solely in the context of a mother-infant dyad. Researchers responded primarily with demonstrations that when requested, fathers could do routine caregiving tasks, but did not focus on issues related to the unique contributions that fathers may contribute to the development of very young children.

In 2006, researchers gathered at the University of Maryland to critique and revise a model proposed to provide an organizational structure that would stimulate research on fathers and give a framework for investigating unique aspects of paternal influences on child development (Cabrera, Fitzgerald, Bradley & Roggman, 2007). In 2014, a revised model shifted the focus from questions related to how fathers are involved, to what specific direct and indirect effects fathers have on their very young children (Cabrera, Fitzgerald, Bradley & Roggman, 2014).

This volume provides a comprehensive summary of the impact of fathers on child development from the prenatal years to age five, the critical period of human development for development of neurobiological brain networks; hormonal, emotional and behavioral regulatory systems, and for the systemic embodiment of experiences into the child ‘s mental models of self, others, and self-other relationships.

In the United States there are now 2 million single father households, 214,000 stay-at-home fathers, and fathers caring for 18% of all preschoolers during times when mother is at work. Research on fathers since Nash’s challenge clearly indicates that fathers are far more critical to child development than he may have imagined (Fitzgerald, Mann, Cabrera, Sarche, & Qin (2010). Fathers do, in fact, make unique contributions as parents. Indeed, as von Klitzing noted (2011) there is a sense that ““Fathers have to be different from mothers, to help children orient themselves in multi-dimensional developmental space” (p. 157).

The volume is also informed by two perspectives guiding research with fathers. The first perspective focuses on identifying positive and negative factors that influence early childhood development, to specify child outcomes, and to focus on cultural diversity in father involvement (Tamis-Lamonda & Cabrera, 2002). The second perspective is multi-faceted. It called for six specific approaches to guide father research: direct assessment of father parenting (rather than through maternal reports); the effects of father presence (in contrast to father absence), the full diversity of father involvement, his impact on gender role differentiation, triadic interactions of family dynamics, and father involvement in psychotherapeutic family interventions (Fitzgerald, Mann, & Barrett, 1999). Each of these perspectives are reflected in the proposed handbook, bounded by attention to the prenatal to preschool years.

During the second half of the 20th century, nearly all developmental sciences shifted to epistemological approaches that were more compatible with systems and the dynamic processes that regulated organization and development. In the study of human development, the shift to an expanded view of the child’s multi-dimensional space occurred when investigators brought fathers, father-mother relationships, gene-environment interplay, and co-parenting into their efforts to understand child development (Cabrera, et al., 2014). Cabrera et al.’s revised model for organizing research on father influences on child development is strongly influenced by Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological systems approach (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006 ). In addition, the proposed volume will reflect aspects of Overton’s (2015) developmental sys

tems theory, which not only posits that change is a fundamental aspect of development, but emphasizes the importance of relationships as a driving force of change.

The shift from emphasis on mother-child relationships to one that stresses systemic influences on child development has particularly influenced studies of fathers. Whereas it is true that there is no clear definition of father involvement, it is equally true that the definition of father reflects the diversity of meanings implicit in how particular societies define family and how particular cultures assign roles and responsibilities to fathers (Fitzgerald, Mann, Cabrera, Sarche & Qin, 2010). Thus, for increasing numbers of children biological relationship does not define “father” functionally. Indeed, in some instances, father and male are not always equivalent.

Even with the rapidly changing social configurations of family, most children are reared in a family context that includes an adult male, who may or may not be in residence, or may or may not be biological. To understand what impact such individuals have on child development will enable a broad range of researchers, practitioners and policy makers to address family systems dynamics from true systems perspectives, but only if they avoid decoupling fathers from the multiple relationships that define family and within which children develop.

Cabrera et al. Organizing Framework for the Volume and Table of Contents.

The Handbook draws from these converging perspectives about the role of fathers in very early human development, summarizes what is known, and within each chapter, draws attention to the critical questions that need to be answered in the coming decade.


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