ABSTRACT

Introduction Despite a historical focus on mothers as primary caregivers, a sizeable body of work now indicates that children can and do form attachment relationships with fathers (see Lamb, 2002 for a review). Relatedly, family systems theorists have argued that family research should move beyond the dyad to study patterns of family interaction that involve multiple caregivers (Cox & Paley, 1997) . Largely lacking in the fathering literature is an integration of family systems and attachment theories generally, and dyadic (i.e. father-child) and triadic (i.e. mother-father-child) levels of analysis in particular (Cowan, 1997) . A family systems perspective on attachment suggests that family functioning at the triadic level may directly influence the quality of the dyadic parent-ehild relationships that comprise this triad .