Parenting Practices and Authenticity in Mothers and Fathers. Academic Article uri icon


  • We explored the relationship between parenting practices and the experience of subjective authenticity in the parenting role. Based on work showing that authenticity responds to violations of broad social expectations, we predicted that mothers would feel more authentic than fathers. We also predicted, however, that parenting practices that conflicted with broad gender norms would differentially predict authenticity for mothers and fathers. We tested this prediction in a single study of U.S. parents recruited from an internet research panel service (N=529). Parents completed online measures of authenticity and parenting practices on three separate occasions. We assessed the within-person association between parenting practices and parent-role authenticity. Authoritarian parenting practices negatively predicted parent-role authenticity for mothers, whereas permissive practices negatively predicted parent-role authenticity for fathers. Authoritative practices positively predicted authenticity regardless of parent gender, and, overall, women felt more authentic in the parenting role than men. These findings contribute to emerging theoretical perspectives on authenticity and gender role congruence and highlight how different parenting practices relate to the well-being of mothers and fathers.

published proceedings

  • Sex Roles

author list (cited authors)

  • Vess, M., & Maffly-Kipp, J.

complete list of authors

  • Vess, Matthew||Maffly-Kipp, Joseph

publication date

  • January 2022