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J Fam Psychol. 2013 Aug;27(4):589-99. doi: 10.1037/a0033786.

An updated and expanded meta-analysis of nonresident fathering and child well-being.

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Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


Since Amato and Gilbreth's (1999) meta-analysis of nonresident father involvement and child well-being, nonmarital childbirths and nonresident father involvement both have increased. The unknown implications of such changes motivated the present study, a meta-analytic review of 52 studies of nonresident father involvement and child well-being. Consistent with Amato and Gilbreth, we found that positive forms of involvement were associated with benefits for children, with a small but statistically significant effect size. Amounts of father-child contact and financial provision, however, were not associated with child well-being. Going beyond Amato and Gilbreth, we analyzed the associations between different types of fathering and overall child well-being, and between overall father involvement and different types of child well-being. We found that nonresident father involvement was most strongly associated with children's social well-being and also was associated with children's emotional well-being, academic achievement, and behavioral adjustment. The forms of father involvement most strongly associated with child well-being were involvement in child-related activities, having positive father-child relationships, and engaging in multiple forms of involvement. Moderator analyses demonstrated variation in effect sizes based on both study characteristics and demographic variables. We discuss the implications of these findings for policy and practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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