Mothers' Gatekeeping of Father Involvement in Married and Cohabiting-Couple Families

Catherine T. Kenney, Bowling Green State University
Ryan Bogle, Bowling Green State University

This paper uses data from the first four waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the influence of maternal gatekeeping on both the quantity and the content of father involvement in married- and cohabiting-parent families. As Allen and Hawkins (1999) have argued, far more research is needed into "the specific contextual factors that may mediate or regulate men's involvement in family work." A better understanding of these contextual factors, and in particular maternal gatekeeping, is important in light of recent interest by policy-makers in programs to encourage higher levels of father involvement, particularly among low-income fathers. This is the first study to our knowledge that compares maternal gatekeeping behaviors and their effects on fathering in married versus cohabiting couples.

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Presented in Session 189: Parental Involvement in Diverse Family Forms