Methods: Using regression analysis, we conducted cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from an Administration for Children and Families funded randomized control trial being conducted through a partnership between the Fathers’ Support Center of St. Louis and the Brown School Evaluation Center at Washington University in St. Louis. The analytic sample was composed of primarily African American, non-resident fathers (n=327). The vast majority (78.65%) of the fathers in our sample were under-or unemployed, with 61.46% reporting income of less than $500 within the past 30 days.
Results: Provision of informal support alone has a statistically significant negative association with gatekeeping (coefficient, -2.81, SE, .63, P<0.001).The provision of informal support in addition to court ordered support was strongly correlated with decreased gatekeeping (coeff=-2.55, 0.008). In addition, court ordered support only was significantly associated with increased gatekeeping (coefficient, 2.02, SE, .52, P<0.001). Statistically significant positive relationship between provision of informal support alone and co-parenting alliance (coefficient, 5.43, SE, .93, P<0.0001). However, court ordered provision of support was not statistically significant. Statistically significant relationship between informal support and decreased undermining (coefficient, -1.92, SE, .57, P<0.01), while payment of court ordered support was not statistically significant. Provision of informal in addition to court ordered support was not statistically significant.
Conclusions and Implications: These types of contributions may serve as an important buffer among families with irregular and insufficient income, helping them become increasingly self-sufficient over time. Our sample bears important similarities to participants in national fatherhood initiatives. Therefore, our findings will inform targeted father involvement policies that promoteevidence-based incorporation of these types of support into child support policy.