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Conservative Protestantism and paternal engagement in fragile families

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Wildeman, Christopher. 2008. "Conservative Protestantism and paternal engagement in fragile families." Sociological Forum, 23(3): 556-574.

Research consistently shows that married conservative Protestant fathers are more engaged with their children than otherwise comparable married fathers. Unfortunately, no research examines the relationship between conservative Protestantism and paternal engagement among unmarried men. Likewise, no research considers whether married and unmarried conservative Protestant fathers' levels of paternal engagement differ more than they do for other married and unmarried fathers. This article considers these research questions using data from three waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study - a longitudinal study of mostly unmarried parents residing in urban areas with populations in excess of 200,000. Results demonstrate that conservative Protestantism is negatively associated with paternal engagement among unmarried fathers and that married and unmarried fathers' levels of engagement with their children do not differ more than other married and unmarried fathers' levels of engagement with their children. The finding that conservative Protestantism depresses paternal engagement among urban, unmarried fathers is especially important since it shows that affiliation with a conservative religious denomination may further disadvantage children already at elevated risk of having less engaged fathers.

DOI:10.1111/j.1573-7861.2008.00076.x (Full Text)

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