Original Paper

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 213-224

Adolescent and Young Adult Mothers’ Relationship Quality During the Transition to Parenthood: Associations with Father Involvement in Fragile Families

  • Christina B. GeeAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, The George Washington University Email author 
  • , Christopher M. McNerneyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, George Washington University
  • , Michael J. ReiterAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, George Washington University
  • , Suzanne C. LeamanAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, George Washington University

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Data from the Fragile Families and Child-Well-being Study were used to examine predictors of involvement among fathers of young children (N=2,215) born to adolescent and young adult mothers (ages 14–25; N=2,850). Participants were interviewed immediately following their baby's birth and at 3-years postpartum regarding co-parental relationship quality, fathers’ caretaking behavior (“father involvement”), and fathers’ provision of material support for the child (“in-kind” support). Early postnatal and 3-year postpartum parental relationship quality and father-child cohabitation predicted 3-year father involvement while early father involvement did not. The race of fathers, specifically African American, was associated with lower levels of father involvement. For in-kind support, 3-year father-child cohabitation and 3-year relationship quality were both positively associated with provision of in-kind support. Father's income was not a significant predictor but mother's involvement with a new partner at the 3-year follow-up was marginally significant. Lastly, the race of fathers, specifically African American and Latino, was associated with provision of less in-kind support.


Adolescent mothers Young mothers Fathers Relationship quality Father involvement Diversity