The Demography of Fathers: What Do Fathers Do.

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Year Published
Author (Individual)
Hofferth, S. L.
Stueve, J. L.
Pleck, J.
Bianchi, S.
Sayer, L.
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This chapter analyzes statistical data from the 1997 Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, the 1995 National Survey of Adolescent Males (third wave), the 1998 Trends in Time Use Study, and the 1999 National Omnibus Study to explore how fathers are involved in the lives of their children. The review focuses on the amount of time that fathers spend with their children, the quality of their involvement, and the types of activities in which they participate. Results are presented for all fathers, fathers of biological children, fathers of stepchildren, and men living with the children of a cohabiting partner. Three of the studies indicated that fathers spend approximately 3 to 4.5 hours per day with children. Biological fathers spend the most time with children, followed by cohabiting men and stepfathers. Relationships between biological fathers and children are warmer than the relationships of stepfathers and cohabiting partners. Biological fathers monitor their children more than stepfathers and cohabiting partners. Fathers in all types of relationships are held responsible for providing financial support for their families, and share responsibility for playing and discipline with mothers. These findings indicate that the amount of time and quality of interactions between children and fathers depend on the relationship between the father and the child and the marital status of the child's mother. Policies should consider these factors as the number of cohabiting families increases. 34 references and 5 tables.

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