The literature on father involvement suggests that the value men ascribe to being a father is important for understanding their involvement with their children, yet this theory has received only limited empirical attention. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 3,197), I examined the association between the psychological centrality of men’s father identity at the time their child was born and their trajectories of involvement during their child’s first 5 years, paying particular attention to differences by fathers’ residence status. I found that the centrality of the father identity predicted future levels of fathers’ involvement net of a large number of fathers’ personal and family characteristics and that these patterns generally remained stable over time. These results suggest that programs and interventions designed to enhance men’s father identity early in their child’s life may have long-lasting implications for their continued involvement with their children. (Author Abstract)
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