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1 2015-04-29 Father Involvement and Child Outcomes in African American Nonmarital Families Jeong-Kyun Choi, MSW, doctoral student University of California,

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Presentation on theme: "1 2015-04-29 Father Involvement and Child Outcomes in African American Nonmarital Families Jeong-Kyun Choi, MSW, doctoral student University of California,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Father Involvement and Child Outcomes in African American Nonmarital Families Jeong-Kyun Choi, MSW, doctoral student University of California, Los Angeles Solveig Spjeldnes, PhD, MSW, MA Ohio University, Athens, OH

2 2 Single Black Fathers Portrayed Badly Painted with a broad brush as dead beat dads Many Black fathers despite their challenges are “being there” for their kids Some non-resident fathers visit their child daily Some write and call every day from jail Some provide food, clothes, and toys regularly

3 3 Marriage as a Goal Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study found that at birth half of single, Black mothers live with the father. For all races, most say they are romantically involved and hope to or plan to marry. More men than women reported that they want to marry. After 5 years, only 65% of poor fathers have seen their children in the past month

4 4 Fathers as Breadwinners Forty-three percent of Black single-mother families lived in poverty in 2006 compared to 30%, 24%, and 43% of their white, Asian, and Hispanic counterparts, respectively (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). U.S. policy makers want fathers to pay for their children to cut welfare aid. But, little is known about Black nonmarital father-child involvement in part because the relationships are complex. The present study aims to reduce this gap in the research literature

5 5 Father Absent Homes Much literature indicates that children in father absent homes are at greater risk for lower educational attainment, behavior and mental health problems, substance abuse, and delinquency, largely due to poverty (McLanahan & Sandafur, 1994). Much literature indicates that children in father absent homes are at greater risk for lower educational attainment, behavior and mental health problems, substance abuse, and delinquency, largely due to poverty (McLanahan & Sandafur, 1994). Children in father-absent homes are 5 times more likely to be poor (U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics, March 2002, P , Table C8, Washington, DC: GPO, 2003). Children in father-absent homes are 5 times more likely to be poor (U.S. Census Bureau, Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics, March 2002, P , Table C8, Washington, DC: GPO, 2003). U.S. Societal Concerns

6 Nonmarital Birth Rates U.S. nonmarital birth rates U.S. nonmarital birth rates Black 69% White 24.5% (Child Trends, 2006) Overall % Overall % % % Canadian birth rates (2005) Canadian birth rates (2005) Marital - 69% Marital - 69% Common-law – 22% (11% in Ontario – 46% in Quebec) Common-law – 22% (11% in Ontario – 46% in Quebec) U.S. Societal Concerns

7 Children living with a single parent Black children 22% 56% White children 7% 22.5% Canadian children living with a Canadian children living with a single parent – Black % single parent – Black % All Canadian children % All Canadian children % U.S. Societal Concerns

8 8 The negative direct and indirect effects of father involvement on child wellbeing are well established primarily in studies of White families as are the exacerbating influences of low income, economic hardship, and low maternal education (Dearing, McCartney, & Taylor, 2001; Fraser, Kirby, & Smokowski,2004; Tamis-LeMonda, Shannon, Cabrera, & Lamb, 2004; Wen, 2008). Father Involvement

9 9 Mixed findings Father involvement associated with fewer preschool Black child behavior problems and better school readiness (Black, Dubowitz, & Starr, 1999; Downer & Mendez, 2005; Jackson, 1999; Tamis-LeMonda et al., 2004). For Black (compared to White) children, father involvement was associated with more behavior problems (King & Heard, 1999). Father-child Involvement in Nonmarital Black Families

10 10 A large body of literature links maternal depressive symptoms with problem outcomes for White and Black children (Downey & Coyne, 1990; Jackson, Brooks-Gunn, Huang, & Glassman, 2000). Maternal Depressive Symptoms

11 11 Black maternal parenting style was associated with child behavior problems, but influenced by family risk factors (McGroder, 2000). Unstable relationships and partner changes in low-income, Black families are associated with diminished maternal parenting and child problems (Osborne et al., 2004). Maternal Parenting

12 12 Perceived maternal financial strain and lower maternal education were associated with higher maternal depressive symptoms, which was directly and indirectly linked through parenting quality to child behavior problems (Jackson, Brooks-Gunn, Huang, & Glassman, 2000). Father involvement associated with better maternal mental health and child behavior and achievement (Jackson, 1999). Indirect Relationships

13 13 Based on Bronfenbrenner’s (1988) person-process-context model Ecological Perspective

14 14 Risk factors - Poverty, father absence, maternal depressive symptoms & poor parenting (Fraser, 2004). Protective factors - Economic security, father involvement, mentally healthy mothers, & nurturing parenting (Fraser, 2004). Risk and Resilience Perspective

15 Hypothesis I. Direct Effect H1: Better father’s parenting will be associated with less child behavior problems and higher language scores. H1: Better father’s parenting will be associated with less child behavior problems and higher language scores. PPVT Behavioral Problems Father’s Parenting

16 Hypothesis II. Indirect Effect H2: Better father’s parenting will be associated with less child behavior problems and higher language scores transmitted through less maternal depressive symptoms and better mother’s parenting. H2: Better father’s parenting will be associated with less child behavior problems and higher language scores transmitted through less maternal depressive symptoms and better mother’s parenting. PPVT Behavioral Problems Depressive Symptoms Father’s Parenting Mother’s Parenting

17 Data source – Wave 1 – 3 data sets from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study; Sample from 75 hospitals in 20 cities across the U.S. Data source – Wave 1 – 3 data sets from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study; Sample from 75 hospitals in 20 cities across the U.S. Participants – A cohort of 550 Black, single mothers who are not married or co-habiting with the biological fathers of their child born between 1998 to 2000 – birth to preschool age Participants – A cohort of 550 Black, single mothers who are not married or co-habiting with the biological fathers of their child born between 1998 to 2000 – birth to preschool age Analysis – Structural Equation Modeling using Mplus with maximum likelihood estimates Analysis – Structural Equation Modeling using Mplus with maximum likelihood estimates Method

18 Mother’s Education – (1) Less than high school, (2) H.S. diploma, (3) Some college or more. Mother’s Education – (1) Less than high school, (2) H.S. diploma, (3) Some college or more. Economic Hardship – 12-item scale (α=.68) for financial difficulties including bill payment, loss of utilities, hunger, food, residential movement, etc. Economic Hardship – 12-item scale (α=.68) for financial difficulties including bill payment, loss of utilities, hunger, food, residential movement, etc. Maternal Depressive Symptoms – 14-item scale (α=.93) for losing interest, feeling tired, trouble sleeping, thinking about death, etc. Maternal Depressive Symptoms – 14-item scale (α=.93) for losing interest, feeling tired, trouble sleeping, thinking about death, etc. Mother’s Parenting – 8-item scale (α=.68) for playing games, reading books, telling stories, showing physical affection, etc. Mother’s Parenting – 8-item scale (α=.68) for playing games, reading books, telling stories, showing physical affection, etc. Measures

19 Father Involvement Father Involvement Father’s Contact with Child – Frequency per month Father’s Contact with Child – Frequency per month Father’s Child Support Payment - $ amount per month Father’s Child Support Payment - $ amount per month Father’s Parenting – 8-item scale (α=.90) for playing games, reading books, telling stories, showing physical affection, etc. (Mother’s vs. father’s report) Father’s Parenting – 8-item scale (α=.90) for playing games, reading books, telling stories, showing physical affection, etc. (Mother’s vs. father’s report) Child Behavior Problems – 65-item scale (α=.92) for internal (angry moods, little affection, etc.) and external (fights, cry, destruction, etc.) behavioral problems. Child Behavior Problems – 65-item scale (α=.92) for internal (angry moods, little affection, etc.) and external (fights, cry, destruction, etc.) behavioral problems. Language Development (PPVT Language Development (PPVT) - A widely-used measure of receptive vocabulary that measures the size and range of words that the child understands. Measures

20 Maternal Education Economic Hardship PPVT Behavioral Problems M-Depressive Symptoms Mother’s Parenting Father’s Parenting.275** -.133**.237** -.238**.308* -.151* -.311* Chi-square=15.68 with d.f.=11 (p=.15), RMSEA=.028, CFI=.91 *p<.05, **p<.01 Results Model I. Mother’s Report

21 FromThroughToEffect Father’s Parenting  Depressive Symptoms  PPVT.031* Father’s Parenting  Mother’s Parenting  Behavior Problems  PPVT.013 Father’s Parenting  Mother’s Parenting  Behavior Problems Economic Hardship  Depressive Symptoms  PPVT-.032** Mother’s Parenting  Behavior Problems  PPVT Results Model I. Mother’s Report +<.01, *p<.05, **p<.01

22 Maternal Education Economic Hardship PPVT Behavioral Problems M-Depressive Symptoms Mother’s Parenting Father’s Parenting.276** -.134**.315** * -.312* Chi-square=16.17 with d.f.=11 (p=.14), RMSEA=.029, CFI=.90 +<.01, *p<.05, **p<.01 Results Model II. Father’s Report

23 FromThroughToEffect Father’s Parenting  Depressive Symptoms  PPVT.038 Father’s Parenting  Mother’s Parenting  Behavior Problems  PPVT.008 Father’s Parenting  Mother’s Parenting  Behavior Problems Economic Hardship  Depressive Symptoms  PPVT-.032** Mother’s Parenting  Behavior Problems  PPVT Results Model II. Father’s Report +p<.10, *p<.05, **p<.01

24 Key Results Importance of the Study Direct vs. Indirect Effects Only indirect effects found. Interaction between father involvement and mother’s psychological and parenting functioning matters. Quality vs. Quantity Quality of father’s parenting matters. Quantity of father’s contact or child support payment does not have effects on child outcomes. Mother’s vs. Father’s report Overall similar results in this study. Qualitative studies have emphasized father’s report.

25 25 Started in 2002, the Healthy Marriage Initiative funds programs to promote healthy marriage, father involvement and co-parenting to improve child wellbeing [Administration for Children & Families (ACF) Press office, 2006, February 8] In 2006, TANF reauthorization provided $150 million per year for 5 years to fund parenting, communication, and conflict resolution skills & fatherhood program. U.S. Policy Health Marriage Initiative

26 26 Targets noncustodial fathers to help them provide financial and emotional support for their children by increasing child support payments, employment and earnings, and parental involvement (MDRC, 2008; Miller & Knox, 2001). Offers unmarried parents services for education, employment, health and mental health issues, relationship problems, and domestic violence (MDRC, 2008; Doolittle & Lynn, 1998). U.S. Program Parents’ Fair Share

27 27 Building Strong Families Pilot Project 1. Relationship Skills - Psychoeducational 2. Family Support Services – parenting, employment, substance abuse 3. Family Coordinators – Needs assessment, referrals, emotional support, and reinforcement 4. Reduce Financial Disincentives to Marry U.S. Program Administration for Children And Families

28 28 Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2007 This legislation would address child support distribution and arrears management; expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for non -custodial parents paying child support; and increase funding for domestic violence activities in marriage and fatherhood and employment programs Proposed U.S. Policy

29 29 Greater focus on resilient single, Black fathers who parent well despite the challenges Measures need to be validated for race and culture Need better measures to analyze complex family relations Research & Policy Issues

30 30 Thank you


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