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Demography. 1998 May;35(2):187-200.

Parenting from a distance: the effects of paternal characteristics on contact between nonresidential fathers and their children.

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Department of Sociology, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.


Changes in marital and fertility behavior have influenced the role of father for many men. We use data from the first two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households to examine various sociodemographic, situational, and attitudinal characteristics that might influence the degree of contact between nonresidential fathers and their minor children. We tap two different dimensions of distance parenting and find that although several variables influence both visiting and talking on the telephone or writing letters, some factors (the presence of multiple children in a household) predict visiting only, while others (child's age and gender) predict only verbal/written contact. Similarly, some of the life-course decisions made by fathers appear to crowd out their involvement with nonresidential children, whereas other decisions reinforce their parenting behavior.

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