New research shows movement toward a more integrated approach. For example, a comprehensive qualitative study of fathers (Nelson, Edin, & Lein, forthcoming) is using an integrated approach that examines paternal involvement while simultaneously examining relevant contextual factors, including aspects of a fathers relationship with the co-parenting mother. Examining the religious and spiritual dimensions of these parenting relationships and participation in church activities and social networks would be a fruitful avenue of research for new studies.
Lessons from the Fragile Families Studies
|Unmarried but not absent: Fathers' involvement with children after a nonmarital birth (Carlson et al., 2005)
- The study examines five groups of variables as predictors of paternal involvement: parents relationship status and quality, fathers human capital, fathers cultural and attitudinal characteristics (including religiosity), fathers health and sociodemographic characteristics, and child characteristics.
- The study finds no significant relationship between religiosity and paternal involvement.
|Family structure effects on maternal and paternal parenting in low-income families (Gibson-Davis, 2008)
- The study finds no effect of religiosity on parenting outcomes.
|Unmarried, nonresident fathers' involvement with their infants: A risk and resilience perspective (Fagan & Palkovitz, 2007)
- The study examines the extent to which predictors of father involvement are influenced by mother-father relationship status and various risk and resilience variables.
- Resilience (religiosity) does not moderate relationship between relationship status and involvement, or between risk and involvement.
|Strengthening unmarried families: Could enhancing couple relationships also improve parenting? (Carlson & McLanahan, 2006)
- This study examines the association between relationship quality and parenting in low-income couples (religiosity as mediating factor).
- The study finds a significant (but small) positive effect of religiosity on parental engagement for mothers and fathers.
|Religious participation, religious affiliation, and engagement with children among fathers experiencing the birth of a new child (Petts, 2007)
- Participation has significant positive effect on paternal engagement, especially for first-time fathers.
- Religion has an independent effect even controlling for marital status, resident status, relationship transition, pro-fathering attitudes, and first-time fatherhood.