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Fagan, J., Pearson, J., & Kaufman, R. (2019). A Descriptive Study of Low‐Income Never‐Married Fathers' Coparenting With Mothers and Relatives. Advanced online publication.
This study was designed to examine low‐income, never‐married fathers' perceptions of their coparenting relationships with mothers and relatives.
Many low‐income, never‐married fathers have more than one child, and often these children were born to more than one mother. Despite the growing body of research on multipartnered fertility, few studies have examined fathers' coparenting relationships with more than one of their children's mothers. In this study, we examine associations between fathers' coparenting relationships and the number of biological mothers, race or ethnicity, and fathers' challenges.
A convenience sample of 487 never‐married, low‐income fathers who had at least one child with whom they did not reside were recruited via numerous fatherhood programs and places in the community where fathers frequently congregate and completed a face‐to‐face survey of closed‐ended items administered by a trained interviewer.
Fathers did not coparent with all of their children's mothers, and they reported having more coparenting relatives than coparenting mothers. Fathers' coparenting contact and cooperation with relatives was more common among African American and Hispanic fathers than non‐Hispanic White fathers. Fathers who reported no coparenting mothers had more biological children than fathers with one coparenting partner, and their interpersonal and financial challenges were associated with less coparenting involvement.
Understanding the complex coparenting arrangements of fathers with all of their children's mothers and relatives will provide a better understanding of family systems in low‐income communities with high rates of nonmarital parenting and multipartnered fertility. This includes understanding how these coparenting relationships are associated with fathers' personal challenges, race/ethnicity, and number of biological children.
Social service programs would benefit from assessing coparenting relationships more broadly rather than focusing only on singular father–mother coparenting relationships.