Sunday, January 20, 2019: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Union Square 22 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Inequality, Poverty, and Social Welfare Policy (IP&SWP)
Daniel Miller, PhD, Boston University
Daniel Meyer, PhD, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Father involvement is a multi-faceted construct, comprised of the provision of material support, social and physical involvement, positive co-parenting, and fathers' co-residence with their children. Despite theoretical models and a growing body of empirical literature that underscore the importance of father involvement to child outcomes, research on the effects of involvement remains relatively limited. In light of the still-limited body of research, studies that help inform our understanding of whether, how, and under what circumstances father involvement is associated with child outcomes are essential to the development of effective interventions. The three papers in this panel are consistent with this broad aim, and each uses a large secondary dataset that is well-suited to its particular purpose. Collectively, they investigate involvement by nonresident and resident fathers and consider outcomes that are important markers of child health and well-being. Doctoral students are included on each paper. The first paper uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-Being study and investigates whether various types of father involvement by resident and non-resident fathers is associated with child obesity. The authors find that involvement by nonresident (but not resident) fathers is associated with increased risk of obesity for children who are five and nine years old. The second paper uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and adopts a life course approach to investigate whether nonresident fathers' provision of child support is associated with child food insecurity. This study finds that each additional year of regular support is associated with a 0.18 standard deviation decrease in child food insecurity in middle childhood, independent of the dollar amount of support received. The final paper uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort to understand whether father involvement reduces socioeconomic disparities in school outcomes. Results from this paper suggest that while school involvement is associated with better reading and math scores, it does not meaningfully narrow gaps in academic performance between low- and high-SES children. However, school involvement by both low-SES resident and nonresident fathers is associated with stronger reductions in grade retention than involvement by high-SES fathers. The symposium includes a discussant who is a senior scholar and nationally-recognized expert on fathers and father involvement. The discussant will provide critical feedback on each paper and will discuss how results can contribute to ongoing policy and programming efforts to promote involvement by fathers in the lives of their children.
* noted as presenting author
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