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Paternal Caregiving and Adult Attachment as Influences on Emotional Intelligence
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Paternal Caregiving and Adult Attachment as Influences on Emotional Intelligence

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My presentation from the International Association of Relationship Research Conference on Exploring Health Relationships and Relationship Health, July 20/05, Indianapolis, IN

My presentation from the International Association of Relationship Research Conference on Exploring Health Relationships and Relationship Health, July 20/05, Indianapolis, IN

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  • Good afternoon. I am here today to present the findings of a recently completed study on the interpersonal predictors of emotional intelligence; specifically, the influence of fathers and attachment on dimensions of EI. This study was completed by myself, Dr. Enrico DiTommaso, Dr. MaryAnn Campbell, and Laurie Green, from the University of New Brunswick, Saint John.

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  • 1. Father Involvement, Father Nurturance, and Attachment Security as Predictors of Emotional Intelligence Bryn A. Robinson, PhD candidate Enrico DiTommaso, PhD Mary Ann Campbell, PhD Laurie Green, MA candidate University of New Brunswick, Saint John, NB, Canada
  • 2. Study Rationale
    • Little known of father influence on child emotional development
      • Influence trait emotional intelligence (Schutte et al, 1998)
        • Optimism/mood regulation, utilization, & appraisal
    • Fathers “teach” mood regulation to children
      • The destabilizing playmate relationships
      • What about other nurturing and involved roles? (Finley & Schwarz, 2004).
  • 3. Study Rationale
    • Attachment as influence on EI mood regulation
      • Greater attachment security – more confidence in abilities to control emotions and regulate as required
    • Present study: unique in considering these constructs
      • Objective #1 : Empirically establish relationship between these variables
      • Objective #2 : Determine unique predictive ability of father involvement/attachment on EI
  • 4. Method & Procedure
    • N = 222 (155 female, 67 male), M age = 19.2 years
    • Nurturing Father Scale (NFS; Finley & Schwartz, 2004)
      • Perceptions of a nurturing father figure
    • Father Involvement Scales (FIS; Finley & Schwartz, 2004)
      • Retrospective look at actual and desired father involvement
    • Relationship Scales Questionnaire & Relationship Questionnaire (RSQ & RQ; Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994)
      • Dimensions of secure, preoccupied, fearful & dismissing attachment
    • Modified Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (MSEIS; Austin et al., 2004)
      • Assesses overall trait EI, subscales of optimism/mood regulation, utilization of emotion, and appraisal of emotion
  • 5. Results – Father Involvement/Nurturance & Attachment
    • ↑ father nurturance…
      • ↑ secure attachment ( r = .15 , p < .05)
      • ↓ fearful attachment ( r = - .19, p < .01)
      • ↓ dismissing attachment ( r = -.19, p < .01)
    • ↑ perceptions of actual father involvement…
      • ↑ secure attachment ( r = .17, p < .05)
      • ↓ levels of fearful & dismissing attachment ( r = -.16 & r = -.17, p < .05)
    • Desired father involvement: not significant
  • 6. Results – Attachment & Emotional Intelligence
    • ↑ total EI …
      • ↑ attachment security ( r = .41, p < .001)
      • ↓ fearful/preoccupied attachment ( r = -.30 & r = -.23, p < .001)
    • ↑ optimism/mood regulation…
      • ↑ attachment security ( r = .45, p < .001)
      • ↓ fearful/preoccupied attachment (both r = -.22, p < .01)
    • ↑ utilization of emotions…
      • ↑ preoccupied attachment ( r = .18, p < .01)
    • ↑ emotional appraisal…
      • ↑ attachment security (r = .40, p < .001)
      • ↓ fearful/preoccupied attachment ( r = -.35 & r = -.29, p < .001)
  • 7. Results – Father Involvement/Nurturance & EI
    • ↑ reported father nurturance…
      • ↑ optimism/mood regulation ( r = .15, p < .05)
    • ↑ reported actual father involvement…
      • ↑ total EI ( r = .21, p < .01)
      • ↑ optimism/mood regulation abilities ( r = .26, p < .001)
    • Desired father involvement: no significant relation
  • 8. Results – Predicting Emotional Intelligence
    • Total EI
      • Actual father involvement : predicts 2.3% (β =.28, p < .05)
      • Secure attachment : uniquely predicts 7.1% (β =.32, p < .001)
    • Optimism/mood regulation
      • Actual father involvement : predicts 2.9% (β =.30, p < .05)
      • Secure attachment : uniquely predicts 12.4% (β =.43, p <.001)
    • Utilization of emotions: No significant predictors
    • Appraisal of emotions
      • Secure attachment : 4.3% unique variance (β = .25, p < .001)
      • Preoccupied attachment : 2.8% unique variance (β = -.19, p <.01)
  • 9. Discussion
    • Actual father involvement: approx. 3% variance
      • Increasingly significant as father involvement/nurturance increases
      • Perceived involvement more important than what you wish it had been
    • Secure attachment: approx. 13% of mood regulation variance
    • Fathers’ involvement not predictive of emotion appraisal
      • But secure & preoccupied attachment was…
      • Appraisal of emotions developed through interactions with others – and mothers’ involvement thought to influence this (Luke et al., 2004)
  • 10. Conclusions
    • Future Directions:
      • Measures of mother involvement/nurturance, ability EI
      • Structural equation modeling
      • Prospective studies useful
      • Examine the role of the parent
    • Unique contributions of present study
      • Evidence of father influence on emotional development
      • First study to examine fathers, attachment and EI together