Forty African American men living in metropolitan Philadelphia were interviewed for a qualitative study of the impact of fatherhood on their behavior, their attitudes toward their role as fathers, and the factors that affect their relationship with their children. The men ranged in age from 16 to 50 years old and all earned less than $8 per hour in legal employment. At least two semi-structured interviews were conducted with each participant. The study is part of a larger research project that will include 480 men in three cities. The men emphasized the importance of relationships with their children, as well as the necessity of financial support. Most visited with their children on weekends and tried to arrange quality time in a manner similar to divorced fathers. Children provided a sense of attachment that inspired many of the fathers to reduce their risk-taking behaviors and adopt a more responsible lifestyle. The fathers also were hopeful that they could achieve success through the accomplishments of their children. Barriers to their involvement in the lives of their children included restrictions placed on them because of lack of money or substance abuse, guilty feelings about being unable to support their children, and lack of appreciation from the child's mother. These findings can be used to expand conceptualizations of fatherhood applied in research with African American men. 26 references.
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