This paper uses retrospective child care data from the NLSY79 to examine the patterns and determinants of paternal child care during a child's first three years of life. We focus on two-parent families with children whose mothers worked sometime between the child's birth date and the child's third birthday. We find that father care is a fairly stable form of care; the average number of months that father care is used during a year is similar to the duration of other forms of child care. In addition, we find that paternal care is often used in conjunction with other types of child care. We further find that different characteristics predict paternal child care according to the timing and extent of care. For those fathers who are the exclusive providers of child care during the first year of a child's life, the incidence of paternal child care is associated with race or ethnicity and a mother's identification with nontraditional gender roles. In contrast, for those fathers who provide some of total child care during the first three years of a child's life, the incidence of paternal child care is more highly associated with the flexibility of a mother's and father's work schedule.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)