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Early Child Res Q. 2011;26(3):365-375.

Patterns and predictors of father-infant engagement across race/ethnic groups.

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1
University of Maryland.

Abstract

This study examines whether levels of father engagement (e.g., verbal stimulation, caregiving, and physical play) vary by race/ethnicity using a model that controls for fathers' human capital, mental health, and family relationships. It also tests whether the models work similarly across race/ethnic groups. Its sample of N=5,089 infants and their families is drawn from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort (ECLS-B). We found that, after including controls, African American and Latino fathers had higher levels of engagement in caregiving and physical play activities than White fathers. There were no differences in verbal stimulation activities across race/ethnicity. Fathers' education (college level) predicted more verbally stimulating activities whereas fathers' report of couple conflict predicted less caregiving and physical play. Although levels of engagement differed across the groups, the overall models did not differ by race/ethnicity, except for physical play. African American mothers who reported high levels of depressive symptoms had partners who engaged in more physical play than White mothers with high levels of depressive symptoms.

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