Inside the Black Box of Interactions Between Programs and Participants: Re-conceptualizing Subgroups for Fatherhood Program Evaluation. G. Social Norms


Social norms are the customs and expectations for behavior among a peer group. The three studies that examined social norms as predictors of fatherhood among low-income men focused exclusively on parenting outcomes; none of these studies examined the link between social norms and fathers' partner relationships, employment, child support, or well-being. We did not find any articles that estimated the effects of social norms on partner relationships, economic outcomes, child support, or father well-being (see Table VI.1). Appendix Table E.7 provides a list of the social norms variables examined in the articles, and indicates which variables were predictive of parenting outcomes.

Acceptance of negative stereotypes about African American men was not significantly associated with fathers' involvement in child care in a multivariate study of 50 African-American married fathers of preschool-age children (Shields, 1998). Gonzalez and colleagues (2011) found that neighborhood familism (that is, a strong sense of family in the neighborhood), assessed as respondents' beliefs regarding the importance of family closeness, one's obligation toward family, and the role family should play in one's actions and decisions, predicted greater paternal warmth.

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