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Father Involvement and Mothers’ Parenting Stress: The Role of Relationship Status

  • Kei M. Nomaguchi

    (Bowling Green State University)

  • Susan L. Brown

    (Bowling Green State University)

  • Tanya M. Leyman

    (Bowling Green State University)

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    Although the salutatory effects of father involvement on child well-being are well established, whether similar benefits accrue to children’s mothers is unknown. The prevailing cultural ideal of involved fathering coupled with the growing complexity of mother-father relationship contexts signal that an examination of how father involvement shapes mothers’ parenting stress is overdue. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study (N = 2,480) , we find father involvement is related to lower parenting stress for mothers who are married to, cohabiting with, or dating the child’s father, but not for mothers who are no longer romantically involved with the father. For mothers living with a new partner, the current partner’s, not the biological father’s, involvement is related to less parenting stress. Results support the notion that the stress buffering effectiveness of social support, conceptualized here as father involvement, depends on the relationship context between support recipients and providers.

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    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 1390.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp12-07-ff
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    1. Laura Tach & Ronald Mincy & Kathryn Edin, 2010. "Parenting as A “package deal”: Relationships, fertility, and nonresident father involvement among unmarried parents," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 181-204, February.
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