The Role of Men’s Childbearing Intentions in Their Paternal Involvement

Laura Lindberg, Guttmacher Institute
Kathryn Kost, Guttmacher Institute

We analyze data from the Male Cohort of the 2002 and 2006-2010 National Surveys of Family Growth to examine relationships between men’s pregnancy intentions and their paternal involvement with their most recent child in the last five years. Paternal involvement is measured by co-residence, participation in five fathering behaviors with their child (feed/eat meals with; bathe, diaper, dress or use the toilet; read to; play with; take on outings) and self-appraisal of themselves as fathers. We employ propensity score analysis to disentangle childbearing intentions from confounding background characteristics, using a method appropriate to a three category treatment variable (intended, mistimed, unwanted). After balancing the sample on demographic and socioeconomic background characteristics, we find that men with mistimed births report significantly fewer fathering behaviors and lower paternal self-rating, compared to men with intended births; unwanted births did not differ significantly from intended births. Co-residence did not vary significantly by intention status.

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Presented in Session 82: Fertility Intentions: Measurement and Meaning