American men place a premium on marriage and families and say the father's role in raising children is as important as that played by the mother, a new survey says.

"While modern courtship and romance may seem confusing to many American men, family remains their anchor in life," the survey commissioned by Gentleman's Quarterly magazine said.The survey said 73 percent of those responding to a questionnaire indicated they felt strongly that their family is the most important facet of their lives.

It said 54 percent felt strongly that a man's most satisfying accomplishment is to be a father, while 84 percent felt strongly that a father's role is as important as the mother's in raising children.

The survey said that 60 percent rated their marriage as more important than their job, friends or other family ties and that only 10 percent agreed strongly with the assertion that marriage "makes you lose your personal identity."

"This is hardly a confirmation that the '80s man is afraid of commitment as is so often thought," the survey said.

The survey was conducted by the independent research firm, Significance Inc. of Ridgewood, N.J., which said it received 1,062 responses to questionnaires that were mailed in mid-November to about 2,600 men aged 18 years and older. The men were asked to rank their reactions to various assertions on a scale of 0 to 10.

The firm said that the replies generally indicated that marketers should pay more attention to attitudes rather than age, income or occupation in fashioning marketing strategies.

The researchers said 52 percent of those surveyed can be categorized as "change-adapters" those who generally share a positive self-image and thrive in an atmosphere of change.

The remaining 48 percent, the firm said, can be called "change-opposers" those who in varying degrees are experiencing some degree of alienation from society and "are having trouble coping."

Marketers trying to reach these groups may do well to "understand their frame of mind and view it that way rather than their time of life," said Jack Kliger, publisher of GQ.

Among some other findings of the survey:

While only 25 percent of those surveyed said they strongly support the women's movement, 79 percent expressed strong support for the statement, "It's only fair that women should get equal pay for comparable work."

Twenty-six percent said they felt strongly that their career was the proudest accomplishment of their lives.

One-third of those surveyed said they spend 30 minutes or less a day on grooming, another third spends between 30 minutes and 45 minutes and the remaining third spends more than 45 minutes a day on grooming.