What Do Daddies Do? A More Complete Father Involvement Measure for Married, Cohabiting and Nonresidential Men

Allison P. Deschamps, University of Chicago

Most fatherhood studies use simplistic measures of parenting or are modeled on a concept of father involvement that translates poorly to unmarried fathers. This study seeks to develop a more inclusive measure of father involvement, to describe distinct types of fathers, and to compare the ways that nonresidential, cohabiting and married fathers parent. Aspects of parenting include paternity acknowledgment, financial support, and frequency of father-child interaction. Using Latent Class Analysis, unmarried, nonresidential men fell into three different categories: highly involved fathers, men that behave like many divorced fathers, and men that are largely uninvolved. Both cohabiting and married fathers had the same pattern of parenting. About half of the men avoided great deals of direct interaction. The other half of married/cohabiting fathers participated in all aspects of parenting. This study concludes that few men are deadbeat dads and that cohabiting and married fathers do not differ in parenting styles.

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Presented in Session 135: Paternity Establishment and Father's Investments in Children