Session: Understanding Parenting Practices Among Black Fathers in the 21st Century (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

34 Understanding Parenting Practices Among Black Fathers in the 21st Century

Wednesday, January 20, 2021: 2:45 PM-3:45 PM
Cluster: Black and African Diaspora Focused-Research
Symposium Organizer:
Marquitta Dorsey, Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago
Sherece Shavel, Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington

Widely accepted definitions of father involvement suggest that involved fathers demonstrate adequate levels of accessibility, responsibility and engagement in their children's lives (Lamb, Pleck, Charnov & Levine, 1985). Several fatherhood scholars rely on these conceptualizations for understanding the multidimensional nature and impact of a father's involvement. Consequently, subsequent studies began to codify father involvement through the lens of white, middle-class, two parent or divorced households. After four decades of research dedicated to understanding the value of fatherhood, the focus within the literature began to shift toward the strengths and nuances of Black fatherhood. Taking into account the range of contextual factors that often contribute to framing Black fathers as absent or uninvolved, research examining whether former definitions of father involvement adequately define Black fatherhood are warranted. In an effort to broaden our understanding of father involvement and how it may be characterized differently among Black families in the 21st century, social work researchers must explore various nuances related to how Black fathers parent, and consider protective qualities offered through their engagement with children. The following presentations seek to heighten awareness of the unique parenting practices employed by Black fathers today.


We present three studies that utilize both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Paper one employed a quantitative methodology (n=97), specifically, a four-step Hierarchical Regression Analysis to examine the relationship between multiple predictor variables and discipline and monitoring practices among African American nonresident fathers. Paper two utilized qualitative analysis (n=24), specifically, a combination of grounded theory and thematic content analysis techniques to explore the perspectives of young Black females (ages 15-24) regarding the role of their fathers in their own sexual decision-making. Paper three utilized a mixed methodology (n=167) to examine the impact of Sneakerhead culture on consumer behaviors and Black fathers' parenting practices (Sneakerhead culture refers to individuals who collect, trade, or admire sneakers).


The results of paper one found both co-parental alliance and paternal parenting self-efficacy to be significant predictors of discipline and monitoring among non-resident African American fathers. The results of paper two results reveal the importance of Black fathers' engagement for sexual decision-making processes among young Black females, particularly as it relates to how paternal expectations of sexual behaviors inform sexual practices and personal value. The results of paper three underscored agreement among fathers that purchasing sneakers for their children functioned as a rite of passage. The themes that emerged highlighted aspects of the Sneakerhead culture related to nostalgia; shared passion; shared self-expression between fathers and children; and entrepreneurial values.


Taken together, understanding parenting practices among Black fathers requires a shift in how researchers and practitioners assess the value and contribution of Black father involvement in the 21st century. Through a richer exploration of areas such as, Black co-parenting relationships and paternal self-efficacy; assets of Black fathers to Black daughters' sexual decision making; and paternal behaviors among subcultures such as Sneakerheads; researchers, practitioners and policy makers may gain a broader understanding of Black father-child engagement experiences, thereby broadening our conceptualizations of Black father involvement.

* noted as presenting author
Exploring the Determinants of Father Involvement Among Non-Resident African American Fathers: The Role of Co-Parental Alliance & Parenting Self-Efficacy
Brianna Lemmons, PhD, Baylor University; Qiana Cryer-Coupet, PhD, North Carolina State University; Marquitta Dorsey, Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago; Ericka Lewis, PhD, LMSW, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Jumpman: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Sneakerhead Culture Among Black Fathers
Qiana Cryer-Coupet, PhD, North Carolina State University; Delisia Matthews, PhD, North Carolina State University
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