Conceptualizing and Measuring Low-Income, Nonresident Fathers’ Contact With Children

Feb 2019 | Jay Fagan, Rebecca Kaufman & W. Justin Dyer

Jay Fagan, Rebecca Kaufman, and W. Justin Dyer (2019). Conceptualizing and Measuring Low-Income, Nonresident Fathers’ Contact With Children. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development. Serial No. 332, Vol. 84 , No. 1, 94-106.

DOI: 10.1111/mono.12404

Abstract: This study examined whether different types of nonresident fathers’ contact with children (e.g., face‐to‐face contact, telephone/social media contact) are part of the same construct and whether this contact is statistically distinct from engagement in child‐related activities. Exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) were conducted with a sample of 421 low‐income nonresident U.S. fathers with children ranging from ages 1 to 18 years. Across child age groups, EFAs and CFAs revealed the best fit was a two‐factor solution. The first factor (caregivingcontact) included face‐to‐face contact, nights spent with the child, and several engagement items. The second factor (communication‐contact) included telephone/ social media contact as well as several engagement items that did not require physical presence: praising the child and telling the child you love him/her. We also examined the predictive validity of these measures in relation to father–child relationship quality, and fathers’ parenting self‐efficacy and satisfaction. Communication‐contact was significantly associated with all three of our predictive validity outcome measures, whereas caregiving‐contact was not significantly associated with any outcomes. These findings will be helpful in providing a more accurate measurement of low‐income nonresident fathers’ involvement with children, which is one of the core issues recommended by the working group.



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