Youth Influencing Fathers and Fathers Influencing Youth: Adolescent Delinquency and Nonresident Father Involvement

Bethany Medeiros, Boston College

Two central objectives within demographic research on nonresident fathers are to better understand the circumstances under which such fathers remain involved in their children’s lives, and to elucidate the consequences of such involvement. Using a representative sample of low-income, primarily minority early adolescents (N = 647, aged 10-14 years at wave 1), this study examines bidirectional longitudinal relations between nonresident father involvement and adolescent engagement in delinquent activities. Analyses employ a variety of longitudinal modeling techniques to help control for selection and unmeasured variable biases. Results indicate that higher nonresident father involvement predicts relative decreases over time in adolescent delinquency, whereas delinquency does not predict significant changes over time in father involvement. However, the two factors also positively co-vary over time: as adolescent delinquency increases, so too does father involvement, suggesting that nonresident fathers may increase their involvement in the face of adolescent problem behavior.

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Presented in Session 148: Children's Impacts on Fathering Behaviors