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Schachter, J. (1992). Fathers and their Families: Edited by Stanley H. Cath, Alan Gurwitt, and Linda Gunsberg. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1989. 683 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:279-282.

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(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:279-282

Fathers and their Families: Edited by Stanley H. Cath, Alan Gurwitt, and Linda Gunsberg. Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press, 1989. 683 pp.

Review by:
Joseph Schachter

This is a companion compendium to a seven-year-earlier work, Father and Child, edited by Cath, Gurwitt, and Ross. The current volume contains twenty-eight chapters by thirty-one contributors organized into seven subject areas. A recent New York Times Film View headlined its story, "It's a New Age for Father-Son Relationships," so you should be pleased with a volume that promises all you ever wanted to know about fathers and their families.

As is likely to be the case when there are so many chapters, the quality varies. Some of the chapters left me cold, but much of the material is quite stimulating. Rather than trying to review all the chapters, I shall detail some of the observations and ideas that most provoked my curiosity and exploration in reading the book.

On the basis of their five years of research on fatherhood and father-child relationships, Michael E. Lamb and David Oppenheim conclude that the one characteristic that most clearly distinguishes fathers from mothers in their role as parents is that responsibility for the child is assumed by the mother. This is true even when fathers are highly involved, nurturant caretakers. Infants, Lamb and Oppenheim add, show clear preferences for their mothers on measures of attachment and affiliation.

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