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SURVEY SAYS FATHERS STILL SERVE AS GOOD ROLE MODELS IN THEIR FAMILIES

 SURVEY SAYS FATHERS STILL SERVE AS GOOD ROLE MODELS IN THEIR FAMILIES
 SPRINGFIELD, Mass., June 11 /PRNewswire/ -- It's more difficult to be a father today than it was 20 years ago, say 81 percent of Americans, and they cite lack of time and money as fathers' biggest struggles in 1992.
 Despite these challenges, three out of five respondents to the most recent Family Values survey by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company also think today's fathers are holding their own in their most important role, providing a good example for their children.(A)
 As Americans celebrate Father's Day, they overwhelmingly believe their own fathers did a good job. When asked to rate their fathers in 11 areas, both men and women scored their own fathers highest on showing respect for others, teaching them to work and helping them establish values. Eight out of ten said that their fathers were excellent or good role models overall.
 The telephone survey of 1,009 Americans was conducted in mid-April by Bruskin/Goldring Research using a random-digit dialing probability sample method as part of MassMutual's ongoing research effort on American family values. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
 Fathers Under Pressure
 Money and time are the two greatest pressures facing today's fathers. More than three-fourths mention one of these two factors: 39 percent said making ends meet and 39 percent said finding quality time for their families are the things fathers today struggle with most. No other single factor was mentioned by more than 6 percent of the respondents.
 Fathers Yesterday and Today: An Inverse Relationship
 When asked whether today's fathers were doing the same as, better than or not as well as their own fathers, more than one-third of the respondents said today's fathers do better at spending playtime with children and helping children in school. In general, today's fathers are perceived as doing better in areas where Americans perceive their own fathers as doing less well; conversely, today's fathers are seen as doing less well in areas where their own fathers were strong. The following table shows the inverse relationship.
 Where yesterday's Where today's
 fathers ranked/ fathers rank/
 percent replied good or percent replied
 excellent better
 Showing respect for others 1 85 percent 10 18 percent
 Teaching children to work 2 82 percent 9 19 percent
 Helping children establish
 values 3 79 percent 7/8 21 percent
 Putting family first 4 77 percent 5 24 percent
 Setting a good example 5 76 percent 7/8 21 percent
 Disciplining children 6 74 percent 11 16 percent
 Teaching children to
 live up to their full
 potential 7 72 percent 4 29 percent
 Providing emotional support 8 65 percent 3 32 percent
 Teaching children to
 manage money 9 63 percent 6 22 percent
 Spending playtime with
 children 10 52 percent 1 38 percent
 Helping children in
 school 11 50 percent 2 37 percent
 (The data in the table represent a compilation of answers to several questions. The percentages thus do not add up to 100 percent.)
 For example, the two top-ranking areas in which Americans think today's fathers do better, spending playtime with children (38 percent) and helping children in school (37 percent), are the same two areas in which yesterday's fathers rank lowest, at 52 percent and 50 percent, respectively.
 Similarly, at the other end of the scale, more than half (55 percent) think today's fathers do less well at discipline, something three-fourths (74 percent) said their own fathers were at least good at. And, when asked about fathers showing respect for others, 44 percent think today's fathers are doing less well as this, while 85 percent rate their own fathers as good or very good. Americans also see a decline in fathers' ability to teach children to work, with 47 percent saying today's fathers are doing less well on this and 82 percent saying their own fathers did an excellent or good job.
 "As we saw in the last study conducted by MassMutual, Americans nowadays are deeply concerned about parents' ability to instill values in their children," commented Rebecca Shahmoon Shanok, M.S.W., Ph.D., who is the director of the Early Childhood Group Therapy Program of the Child Development Center in New York City and a contributing columnist for Parents magazine. "The good news is that today's fathers are seen as more approachable, more responsive. But people are wondering if today's fathers can exert sufficient family leadership in the current environment to raise truly responsible children."
 Holding Their Own
 Americans believe that today's fathers may be holding their own despite significant challenges. Americans rated today's fathers the same or better in three areas where they rated their own fathers good or excellent: teaching children to live up to their full potential (65 percent), putting their families first (59 percent) and setting a good example (59 percent).
 Diverse Views on Fathers' Participation - Future Looks Brighter
 Americans do not have a unified view on today's fathers' participation in the lives of their children. Forty-four percent think that fathers today participate only "somewhat well." The same percentage predict that fathers in ten years will still be participating only "somewhat well."
 A significant portion, however, holds a more positive view: 27 percent said today's fathers participate very or extremely well and 36 percent predict this will still be true in ten years.
 Yet, the future looks brighter. When asked what the biggest change would be for fathers in the next ten years, the most common response was that fathers would spend more time with their families, cited by 31 percent of the respondents.
 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance is one of the country's leading mutual insurers. Founded in 1851, MassMutual has $29.6 billion in assets and is among the nation's 100 largest companies in terms of assets. Consistent with its role as a provider of financial protection for families, MassMutual has been a pioneer in researching America's family values since 1988.
 1992 MASSMUTUAL FATHERHOOD SURVEY
 KEY FINDINGS
 To date, MassMutual's Family Values program has included the most extensive research into the values around which Americans shape their family lives. The program has involved outside experts, two commissioned research efforts, the sponsorship of a children's essay contest on family values and now this survey on fatherhood. The following are key findings of the survey:
 -- Americans think that "Dad" did well. Today's adults are pleased with how their fathers raised them. In 11 areas, at least half of America's adults perceive their fathers as having done an "excellent" or "good" job.
 -- Americans differ on favorite way to spend time with their fathers. Respondents differ widely on what activities they enjoyed doing with their fathers while growing up. Older Americans (65 and older) most frequently mentioned having supper/dinner (64 percent) or doing household/yard work (51 percent). Younger Americans (18 to 24) are more likely than older Americans to have cited playing sports/doing hobbies (57 percent) or watching television (37 percent).
 -- Television dads are not much like respondents' fathers. When asked to determine from a list of popular television characters which one "most" reminded them of their fathers, 33 percent of the respondents said "none or don't know." John Walton of "The Waltons" scored highest, with 25 percent saying he was "most" like their fathers. Second place went to Archie Bunker of "All in the Family" (17 percent), then Cliff Huxtable of "The Cosby Show" at 13 percent and Dan Conner of "Roseanne" at 7 percent, while Ward Cleaver of "Leave It to Beaver" closed at 6 percent.
 -- Younger respondents more critical of their own fathers than older respondents. Younger respondents, those aged 18 to 24, consistently rated their fathers about 10 to 20 percentage points lower at doing an "excellent" or "good" job at raising them than did older respondents (those 65 and older).
 -- Americans think it is more difficult to be a father today. Four out of five Americans think being a father today, as compared to 20 years ago, is "more difficult." Only 6 percent feel it is "easier."
 -- Fathers' biggest challenges: providing for and being with their families. Today's fathers are perceived as struggling to "make ends meet" and "find quality time for their families" (39 percent cite each). However, almost one American in three (31 percent) is hopeful that in the next ten years fathers will change by "spending more time with their families."
 -- Today's fathers score high on spending playtime with children and helping children in school. More than one-third of Americans feel today's fathers are better than their own fathers in two areas. Respondents said today's fathers were doing a "better" job than their own fathers at spending playtime with children (38 percent) and helping children in school (37 percent).
 -- Americans express some hope for the future. While only slightly more than one-fourth (27 percent) said that fathers today participate "extremely well" or "very well" in the lives of their children, 36 percent forecasted this would be true in ten years.
 MassMutual commissioned Bruskin/Goldring Research (BGR) to conduct the fatherhood survey as part of BGR's weekly OmniTel survey. Each Omnitel study is based on a random-digit dialing probability sample of all telephone households in the continental United States. The survey interviewed 1,009 Americans and was conducted in mid-April. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
 (A) MassMutual's November 1991 Family Values survey showed that Americans believe the most important role of parents is to provide a good example for their children.
 -0- 6/11/92
 /CONTACT: Joe Mondy of MassMutual, 413-744-2365, or Dina George of Fleishman-Hillard, 212-265-9150, for MassMutual/ CO: MassMutual ST: Massachusetts IN: INS SU:


PS-OS -- NYFNS1 -- 9055 06/11/92 07:32 EDT
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