Method: African American students (n=264) attending a Historically Black University in the Mid-Atlantic Region completed a self-administered survey consisting of demographic questions and three scales: the Parental Acceptance/Rejection Questionnaire (Rohner & Khaleque, 2005), the Nurturant Fathering Scale (Finley & Schwartz, 2004), and the Personality Assessment Questionnaire (Rohner & Khaleque). Two multiple regression analyses were conducted. The first explored predictors of father nurturance. The second explored the relationship between father and mother nurturance, and youth psychological well-being.
Results: Frequency (B=.12 t=2.02, p=.045) and duration (B=.399, t=5.47, p<.0005) of interaction with the participant's father predicted father nurturance. Respondents whose parents were married or cohabitating (B=12.67, t=2.94, p=.004) had lower levels of overall psychological well-being. Mother nurturance (B=.83, t=6.0, p<.0005), but not father nurturance, was positively related to overall youth psychological well-being.
Implications: Previous research suggests that “just being there” is valued by African American fathers. Given the social and family contexts many African American families face, fathers' ability to maintain frequent contact over the long haul may also be perceived as nurturing by youth. Though not significant, the association between father nurturance and youth psychological well-being was in the expected direction. Significant positive relationships were found with the emotional components of psychological well-being (instability and unresponsiveness). The unexpected, inverse relationship between marital status and youth psychological well-being warrants future research to determine which aspects of the parents' relationship negatively impact youth. By incorporating fathers into family based programs and case management services, social workers can help families understand of the importance of frequent and long term father involvement; and the relationship between father nurturance and youths' emotional functioning. By assessing parental relationships social workers can help identify which aspects of these relationships negatively influence youth's psychological well-being.