Journal of Community Health

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 63–68 | Cite as

Assessing the Impact of Paternal Involvement on Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality Rates

  • Amina P. AlioEmail author
  • Alfred K. Mbah
  • Jennifer L. Kornosky
  • Deanna Wathington
  • Phillip J. Marty
  • Hamisu M. Salihu
Original Paper


We sought to assess the contribution of paternal involvement to racial disparities in infant mortality. Using vital records data from singleton births in Florida between 1998 and 2005, we generated odds ratios (OR), 95% confidence intervals (CI), and preventative fractions to assess the association between paternal involvement and infant mortality. Paternal involvement status was based on presence/absence of paternal first and/or last name on the birth certificate. Disparities in infant mortality were observed between and within racial/ethnic subpopulations. When compared to Hispanic (NH)-white women with involved fathers, NH-black women with involved fathers had a two-fold increased risk of infant mortality whereas infants born to black women with absent fathers had a seven-fold increased risk of infant mortality. Elevated risks of infant mortality were also observed for Hispanic infants with absent fathers (OR = 3.33. 95%CI = 2.66–4.17). About 65–75% of excess mortality could be prevented with increased paternal involvement. Paternal absence widens the black-white gap in infant mortality almost four-fold. Intervention programs to improve perinatal paternal involvement may decrease the burden of absent father-associated infant mortality.


Fathers’ involvement Paternal involvement Infant mortality Racial disparities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amina P. Alio
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Alfred K. Mbah
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Kornosky
    • 2
  • Deanna Wathington
    • 3
  • Phillip J. Marty
    • 2
  • Hamisu M. Salihu
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Community and Family HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.The Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and BabiesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  3. 3.Public Health Practice ProgramUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and BabiesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  5. 5.College of Public HealthTampaUSA

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