Are Better Educated Fathers More "Involved"? The Education Effect on Paternal Time with Children

Rong Wang, University of Maryland

Better educated fathers are often considered more involved with their children than less educated fathers, yet empirical findings of fathers’ educational effect on childcare time have been mixed and the education effect could reflect other characteristics associated with highly educated fathers rather than behavioral inclinations (e.g., fathers’ work schedules, earnings, and spouses’ characteristics).Using data from the 2003 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this study examines the role of education in married fathers’ time with children by disentangling different factors that fathers’ education might work through or interact with to influence paternal childcare time. The results indicate that among fathers with different education levels, college graduates rather than postgraduates are the most “involved” fathers when total childcare time (engaged and accessible) are counted. The preliminary findings suggest that unlike the common assumption that better educated fathers are more “involved” fathers, the relationship between fathers’ education and their time with children might be curvilinear.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Children and Youth, Adolescence, Parenting, Transition to Adulthood, Life Course