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Do nonresident fathers matter? : associations between nonresident fathering and adolescent functioning

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
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  • Biology


The present study examined the relationship between nonresident father involvement and adolescent psychosocial functioning among Black and White adolescents. The study sample, drawn from Wave 2 of the National Survey of Families and Households, included 372 adolescents who resided with their biological mother, had a nonresident father, and had no male figure in the household. Analysis indicated that nonresident fathers who had conflictual relationships with resident mothers had more contact with their children. Overall, the quality of the nonresident father-child relationship was a weak predictor of adolescent outcomes, particularly when controlling for the mother-child relationship. However, frequency of father contact was related to poorer adolescent adjustment when quality of the father-child relationship was poor. Conflict in the resident mother-nonresident father relationship was associated with higher levels of adolescent externalizing behavior. Findings of the study suggest that a more holistic conceptualization of nonresident father involvement is needed in order to understand the unique influence of nonresident fathers on adolescent adjustment. Implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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