Determinants of Non-resident Fathers'' Involvement with Their Children: Individual, Cultural and Policy Factors

Ivett Szalma, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Marieke Heers, FORS

Across societies, the number of children growing up with only one parent is constantly increasing. In most cases of union dissolution, the child continues co-residing with the mother and the relationship between the non-resident father and the child needs to be redefined. Non-residential fatherhood arises in many contexts and the relationships between non-resident fathers and their children are heterogeneous. So far, most research has used data obtained from mothers to gain insight on father-child contacts after parental separation. However, more attention needs to be paid to fathers’ perspectives on their own experiences. Yet, given the non-availability of data, information obtained from non-resident fathers could hardly be analyzed so far. Moreover, there is no comparative research in this area. In this study, we use a unique dataset that allows us to analyze information obtained from non-resident fathers regarding the involvement with their children after parental breakup while accounting for country-specific characteristics. Our dataset links data from the Gender and Generations Programme for 14 countries to macro-level indicators that are likely to affect non-resident fathers’ involvement with their children, including a number of family policy indications as well as aggregated gender attitudes. We apply multinomial logistic regressions and find that fathers’ individual characteristics both in socio-demographic and interpersonal terms are important predictors of father-child contact. Cultural and policy-level factors are somewhat less strong in predicting father-child contact.

Presented in Session 1105: Families and Households