Structural Equation Model of Father Involvement in Infant Development in Vietnam using Identity Theory
Child development is an important determinant of global health, and fathers’ involvement can enhance child behavioural, social, and cognitive development. However, fathers’ involvement varies between cultures, and research on fatherhood in Asia is limited, especially in developing countries such as Vietnam. The aim of this study was to examine fathers’ involvement using identity theory including the following constructs: fathers’ affective and interactional commitment, psychological centrality and role performance. In addition, socioeconomic status and marital relationship quality were examined in the context of the fathers’ involvement. Ultimately, the influence of the fathers’ involvement on infants’ developmental outcomes was analyzed. To achieve the objectives of the study, control group (N = 370) data from a longitudinal father involvement intervention study in Vietnam was used. Indicators of the fathers’ role performance and child development were examined using structural equation modeling. Psychological centrality was strongly positively associated with the role performance and infants’ development. Furthermore, marital relationship quality predicted the fathers’ psychological centrality and role performance. These findings suggest that fathers’ emotional relationship with their spouses and infants and the centrality of the father’s role identity to a man has a significant influence on the fathers’ involvement and infants’ development. The present study contributes to understanding of the factors that affect fathers’ involvement and infants’ development in the Asian context. In addition, the present study provides support to development and implementation of social programs aiming to increase fathers’ involvement in Vietnam and globally.