, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 213-224
Date: 13 Sep 2006

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

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Abstract

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.

Christina B. Gee, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, The George Washington University, Christina Gee's research interests include coparenting and father involvement during transition to parenthood among adolescent mothers and fathers, adolescent mothers’ psychological adjustment, and romantic relationships among at-risk couples.
Christopher M. McNerney, B.A., Department of Psychology, George Washington University, Christopher McNerney's research interests include marginalized couples, couples interventions, and family treatments to improve parenting outcomes.
Michael J. Reiter, B.A., Department of Psychology, George Washington University, Michael Reiter's research interests include interfaith and interracial romantic relationships within a family systems approach.
Suzanne C. Leaman, B.A., Department of Psychology, George Washington University, Suzanne Leaman's research interests include adolescents and young families, minority mental health, low-income communities, and the implications of dating violence for mental health.