Early Bonds, Strong Ties: Married and Cohabiting Fathers’ Involvement Foundations

Letitia Kotila, Ohio State University

Early father involvement is critical to establishing sustained involvement, and this may be particularly important for cohabiting fathers who are at risk for reduced involvement when relationships end. Individual and socioeconomic factors have been widely investigated as determinants of father involvement, but little work has been done on linking different aspects of involvement with each other over time. Structural Equation Modeling was used to examine reciprocal associations between married and cohabiting fathers' involvement in three domains (positive engagement, warmth, and control) using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. Early involvement in each domain was associated increases in later involvement in the same domain. However, only early positive engagement was linked with increases in later warmth. There were also differences in links by family structure; earlier control was associated with increases in later warmth, but only for married fathers.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households