Associate 2009-10

Joseph Pleck

Human Development & Family Studies

Place imageThe Relationship Contexts of Residential and Non-Residential Father Involvement

In the field of human development and family studies, there is growing interest in father involvement. In contrast to previous studies of father absence, this new line of investigation focuses on the level and kind of involvement (defined as behavioral engagement, warmth, and monitoring) that fathers, whether resident or not, have with their children. Father involvement has positive consequences for children, and learning what factors influence it will help to guide programs and policies that foster it.

During his Center appointment, Professor Pleck will develop and advance a theoretical perspective that enactments of fathering dispositions are highly contingent on relationship contexts involving the father (e.g., the father’s relationship with the child’s mother; with the mother(s) of his children from other relationships; and with the children themselves) and whether he is the biological father of the child.

Professor Pleck and his team will analyze data collected, with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, through the 2008 National Survey of Adolescent and Adult Males, a national representative sample of U.S. males in their mid-30s. The survey data will allow comprehensive analyses to refine the emerging “relationship contexts” perspective on father involvement.