This study reviewed research about fathering to develop a framework for understanding the variables that influence the level of father involvement in the life of a child. The contextual analysis is intended to inform responsible fatherhood initiatives and programs. Research findings indicate that father involvement is affected significantly by environmental factors, such as the man's relationship with the mother of his child, employment status, and income level. The study suggests that the contextual nature of fatherhood indicates that cultural, economic, institutional, and interpersonal influences can be enhanced to promote father involvement. Fatherhood programs are advised to utilize a combination of strategies to address all aspects of father child relationships. Interventions should include the child's mother and the father's family of origin and encourage coparenting arrangements for married and unmarried parents, support during key transition periods, the resolution of employment and economic problems, peer support, and healthy marriage. Numerous references.
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