BYU study: Role models matter

A BYU sociology professor recently coauthored a study about fathering that suggests Young Men and Scouting leaders can have a profound impact on the lives of boys who do not enjoy a close relationship with their own fathers.

Professor Renata Forste, whose article "Just Be There for Them" appeared in a recent issue of the journal Fathering, focused her study on fathers who were often single, young and low-income. Interviews from study participants got divided into two categories: those who felt close to their own fathers, and those who did not. Comparing the two groups' attitudes towards fathering revealed recurring themes.

The study concluded that "respondents close to their own fathers aspired to become the 'good dads' by whom they had been raised, [while] subjects who were distant from their fathers wished to avoid becoming the 'bad dads' they remembered from their childhood."

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