ABSTRACT

Since the early 1970s, research on fathers and their role in children's development has steadily increased. Studies have shown that infants become attached to fathers as well as mothers (Lamb, 1997), and that fathers make important contributions to their children's developmental outcomes (Lamb, 2002). Still, research on father-infant attachment and its relation to paternal caregiving and child outcomes has lagged far behind the research on mother-infant attachment, primarily because attachment theory characterises fathers as secondary attachment figures, and there has been relatively little discussion of what the role of a "secondary" attachment figure is. As the secondary attachment figure, do fathers have the same function as mothers, but to a lesser degree, or do they serve qualitatively different functions?