Factors Associated With Fathers' Involvement With Their Children Among Black Fathers With Criminal Records
MetadataShow full item record
Type of WorkText
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
The benefits of fathers' involvement in their children's lives are well documented. However, the effects of over incarceration have contributed to disbanded family bonds, especially, Black families. Spells of incarceration disrupt family relationships and having a criminal record results in formerly incarcerated men being jobless and unable to financially contribute to their families. Society continues to reinforce traditional conceptualizations of father involvement as being breadwinning and resident fathers. However father involvement is complex, particularly, within contemporary family structures (Jones & Mosher, 2013). This study analyzed factors associated with father involvement with their children among African American Males with criminal records. Father involvement was conceptualized using Lamb, Pleck, Charnov, and Levine's (1985, 1987, 2000) Threefold Typology, which included fathers' level of engagement, accessibility, and responsibility with their children. These three components of father involvement were the dependent variables. Secondary analysis of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study was used for the analyses. The Fragile Families study was a non-experimental design, and follows a panel or cohort of 4,700 children born to unwed (3,600) and married (1,100) parents. Among Black fathers with criminal records, this study explored relationships between fathers' involvement, time served in jail/prison, family dyads, and socio-demographic variables, such as educational status and employment status. This study found that variations in the factors that were associated with the type of fathers' involvement with their children were dependent upon which factors and the type of involvement under consideration. In the bivariate analysis, whether fathers had children from previous relationships was the one factor that was significantly associated with fathers' accessibility. Fathers who did not have children from other relationships were more accessible to their focal child than fathers who had children from other relationships. Four (out of seven) independent variables were significantly associated with fathers' engagement and fathers' responsibility. The significant variables were 1) mothers and fathers' relationship, 2) fathers had children from other relationships, 3) mothers were involved in another relationship, and 4) fathers' employment status. In the multivariate analyses, after controlling for other characteristics, only mothers and fathers' relationship remained significantly associated with fathers' engagement with their children. Higher scores on mothers and fathers relationship construct were associated with less father engagement. Further, after controlling for other factors, three characteristics- mothers and fathers' relationship, fathers had children from other relationships, and fathers' employment status - were significantly associated with fathers' responsibility. Jointly, the profile of fathers who were more responsible to their children were, on average, in better relationships with the child's mother, had children from other relationships, were under correctional supervision. By unraveling the complexities of fragile family compositions and circumstances, this study informs future social policies, research and practice solutions .In addition, inter-professional dialogue can be initiated and changes in education may be implemented, so that public policies and practice solutions will be more responsive to the needs, challenges, and prevailing assets of urban families and communities.