Co-Parenting among First Time Fathers of Infants: The Influence of Men's Pregnancy Intentions

Jacinta M.H. Bronte-Tinkew, Child Trends
Mindy E. Scott, Child Trends
Allison Horowitz, Child Trends

This study uses a sample of 1,287 biological resident fathers from the Early Child Longitudinal Study Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) 9- and 24-month waves to examine the pathways through which pregnancy intentions influence varied co-parenting behaviors after the birth of a first child and whether these associations differ by child gender. Results of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) indicate that having an unwanted or mistimed pregnancy is directly associated with poorer co-parental cooperation and that indirect associations between pregnancy intentions and co-parental cooperation, conflict, support, shared decision making, and communication operate through the quality of the mother-father relationship. Findings also indicate that pregnancy intentions work indirectly through the mother-father relationship to influence co-parental communication for men with first-born daughters but not sons. Findings represent a first look at several important family processes that influence men’s commitment to the co-parenting role and involvement with families during the transition to parenthood.

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Presented in Session 78: Fathers and Children