What Matters Most? Money, Relationships, and Visions of Masculinity as Key Correlates of Father Involvement

Bart Stykes, Bowling Green State University

This research contributes to work on father involvement by examining the influence of human capital and masculine identity on father’s verbal interaction with children. Random effects techniques were applied to panel data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being Study and addressed the importance of time-variant indicators of economic capital and relational capital alongside fathers’ visions of masculinity at the child’s birth. Results indicated that increases in human capital were positively associated with father involvement--though relational capital was more consequential for involvement than economic capital. Visions of masculinity served as a poor predictor of father involvement net of time-varying indicators of human capital suggesting masculinities per se did not influence father involvement. Findings suggested program and policy initiatives designed to encourage co-parenting and healthy relationships with birth mothers might be more effective in bolstering involvement among disadvantaged fathers rather than educational or training programs.

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Presented in Session 184: Determinants of Domestic Gender Equality