Patterns in American Fathers' Fathering Attitudes

Jamie M. Lewis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Although research on fathering has grown, how fathers experience themselves as fathers merits greater attention. Here, I conduct latent class analysis of resident fathers' fathering attitudes and test whether these views differ by race/ethnicity and class, using representative data from the 2001-2002 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). Results demonstrate that fathers have largely embraced the expectations of the involved father role, though this transition is incomplete for a substantial minority of men. I also find that the commonly-used provider father-involved father typology inadequately describes observed fathering patterns. Group variations exist, with racial/ethnic minorities and non-professional fathers more likely than non-Hispanic Whites and professionals to endorse an adaptive form of fathering that combines aspects of the provider and involved father roles. Men’s endorsement of involved fathering may facilitate positive outcomes in children and richer lives for men and women, but also exposes men to the potential for work-family conflict.

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Presented in Session 160: The Changing Roles of Fathers