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J Adolesc Health. 1997 Oct;21(4):244-52.

Teen father participation in child rearing: family perspectives.

Author information

1
Section of Adolescent Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To explore adolescent fatherhood from the perspectives of teen fathers, teen mothers, paternal grandmothers (PGMs), and maternal grandmothers (MGMs). To identify perceived barriers to and recommendations for the enhancement of teen father participation in child rearing.

METHODS:

A total of 61 teen parents participated in the design of a structured interview. A community-based sample of 173 teen fathers, 167 teen mothers, 76 PGMs, and 79 MGMs were interviewed by teenage assistants. Multiple logistic regression analysis using maximum likelihood estimation and the best subset algorithm identified barriers most predictive of paternal uninvolvement in child rearing.

RESULTS:

Fifty-four percent of teen fathers and 70% of partners of teen mothers' met the definition of involvement in child rearing. Disinterest in child rearing most consistently predicted uninvolvement. Fathers were less likely than mothers to report paternal disinterest as a barrier and more likely to attribute their lack of involvement to resistance from mothers and MGMs (p < 0.05). The best model predicting paternal involvement from the fathers' perspective included paternal disinterest [odds ration (OR) = 0.42, confidence interval (CI) = 0.19-0.92] and age (OR = 0.74, CI = 0.56-0.97). The best model from the mothers' perspective included paternal disinterest (OR = 0.16, CI = 0.07-0.36) and lack of time (OR = 0.31, CI = 0.15-0.91). Of those fathers who cited disinterest, there was an association with lack of money (p = 0.002) and lack of knowledge of child care (p = 0.069. While fathers and mothers disagreed on several interventions, they agreed (82% and 95%, respectively) that availability of jobs would promote paternal involvement.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most teen fathers in this study were involved and interested in child rearing. A young father's financial insecurity or confusion about child care was most likely to lead to a stated disinterest, and that disinterest predicted uninvolvement.

PIP:

A community-based sample of 173 teen fathers, 167 teen mothers, 76 paternal grandmothers, and 79 maternal grandmothers was interviewed by teenage assistants to explore adolescent fatherhood from a range of differing perspectives. 54% of teen fathers and 70% of partners of teen mothers met the definition of involvement in child rearing. Disinterest in child rearing most consistently predicted uninvolvement. Fathers were less likely than mothers to report paternal disinterest as a barrier and more likely to attribute their lack of involvement to resistance from mothers and maternal grandmothers. The best model predicting paternal involvement from the fathers' perspective included paternal disinterest and age, while the best model from the mothers' perspective included paternal disinterest and lack of time. Of those fathers who cited disinterest, there was an association with lack of money and lack of knowledge of child care. While fathers and mothers disagreed upon several interventions, they agreed that an availability of jobs would promote paternal involvement.

PMID:
9304456
DOI:
10.1016/S1054-139X(97)00115-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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