Low-Income, Nonresident Father Involvement With Their Toddlers: Variation by Fathers' Race and Ethnicity

Natasha J. Cabrera, Rebecca M. Ryan, Stephanie J. Mitchell, Jacqueline D. Shannon, Catherine S. Tamis-LeMonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using data from a racially and ethnically diverse sample of low-income mothers of 2-year-old children participating in the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (N = 883), the authors examined fathers' education and employment, mother-father relationship, and mothers' relationships with kin in the household to explain variation in nonresident father involvement across racial and ethnic groups. Nonresident White fathers were less involved with their children than were African American and Latino fathers. This difference was explained by the status of mother-father relationships. White nonresident fathers were less likely than minority nonresident fathers to maintain romantic relationships with their child's mother. Mothers in the White father group were also more likely to re-partner, which negatively related to biological fathers' involvement. These findings suggest that approaches to strengthen nonresident father involvement in children's lives need to consider how father ethnicity and mother-father relations are associated with differential patterns of father involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-647
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • father involvement
  • nonresident fathers
  • racial and ethnic differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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