A cross-sectional study of father-daughter/son interactions from 1 Month to 3 years of age with the feeding and play scales: Exploring the psychometric properties

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Journal Article

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Father–infant/toddler interactions; Feeding observational scale; Free-play observational scale; Gender differences; Research tool


The quality of father-infant/toddler interactions has become a focal point in studies of early child development. However, studies targeting early father-infant/toddler interactions may be hampered due to the lack of specific and validated measures; indeed, most of the applied observational instruments were originally designed to evaluate mother-child interactions. In a sample of 142 fathers-infant/toddler dyads, the current study aimed to test the reliability of the Feeding and Play Scales, which were initially created to assess mother-infant/toddler interactions. Also, we compared the father-infant/toddler feeding and play interactions at different developmental stages, from 1 month to 3 years of the child's age, and we evaluated the effect of the child's gender on the father-infant/toddler feeding and play interactions. Both scales showed satisfactory internal consistency, confirming that the measures are reliable in the evaluation of father-infant/toddler feeding and play interactions. Analyses showed significant correlations between the subscales of the Feeding and Play Scales, significant effects of the child's age and significant gender differences. Our research shows that the Feeding and Play Scales are promising instruments to study the role of fathers in the development of normal and disordered feeding in infants and toddlers.


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences