father involvement, masculinities, cross-national comparison, Canada, survey research, OLS regression


Research continues to examine the barriers to and facilitators of positive fathering behaviors. One area recently addressed by researchers focuses on the relationship between masculine norm adherence and father involvement. Yet, little work has examined cross-national variability in this relationship—despite differences in gender norms, fathering expectations, and social policies across countries. The present study considers possible differences in the relationship between masculine norm adherence and fathering behaviors in the United States and Canada—two rich, multiethnic countries with many similarities but some distinct policy and family support differences. Using data from fathers in Canada (n = 2057) and the United States (n = 2207), our results show that fathers in Canada are warmer, more involved, provide more care, and use harsh discipline less than their American counterparts. Furthermore, the negative association between masculine norm adherence and positive fathering behaviors is stronger among American fathers than Canadian fathers. Overall, our findings indicate the importance of social context for understanding how gender norms shape men’s parenting, given that the association between masculine norms and fathering varies in two culturally similar countries with different social policies around family life. Implications for social policy in the two countries and within institutional contexts are discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Shafer, K., Petts, R.J. & Scheibling, C. Variation in Masculinities and Fathering Behaviors: A Cross-National Comparison of the United States and Canada. Sex Roles (2020).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Sex Roles




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor