Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Are Fathers Fungible? Patterns of Coresident Adult Men in Maritally Disrupted Families and Young Children's Well-Being

Alan J. Hawkins and David J. Eggebeen
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Nov., 1991), pp. 958-972
DOI: 10.2307/353000
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353000
Page Count: 15
  • Download ($15.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Are Fathers Fungible? Patterns of Coresident Adult Men in Maritally Disrupted Families and Young Children's Well-Being
Preview not available

Abstract

This study addresses the relationship of biological and social fathers to young children's well-being. We outline three general positions in this debate: biological fathers are important to their young children's well-being and are hard to replace; fathers are important, but social fathers can effectively replace biological fathers; fathers are peripheral to young children's lives and do not significantly affect children's well-being. To address this question, we compared children who had differing experiences with coresident adult men, using a sample of 870 children aged 4 to 6 years from the "Children of the NLS/Y" file. Children in five longitudinal patterns of experiences with coresident adult men in maritally disrupted families were identified (No Male, Grandfather, Stepfather, Reunited Father, and Chaotic) and compared to children in intact families. Thirty-one percent of the disrupted children were in the No Male pattern, but more than two-thirds were in one of the other disrupted patterns. Hierarchical regression models found no differences in verbal-intellectual functioning between children in intact families and children in any of the disrupted patterns. For the measure of psychosocial dysfunctioning, only children in the Grandfather pattern were significantly different from children in the Intact pattern. Further analyses revealed that it was white children in this three-generation living arrangement who experienced problems. This study lends some support to the position that fathers, both biological and social, are peripheral to young children's intellectual and psychosocial functioning.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
958
    958
  • Thumbnail: Page 
959
    959
  • Thumbnail: Page 
960
    960
  • Thumbnail: Page 
961
    961
  • Thumbnail: Page 
962
    962
  • Thumbnail: Page 
963
    963
  • Thumbnail: Page 
964
    964
  • Thumbnail: Page 
965
    965
  • Thumbnail: Page 
966
    966
  • Thumbnail: Page 
967
    967
  • Thumbnail: Page 
968
    968
  • Thumbnail: Page 
969
    969
  • Thumbnail: Page 
970
    970
  • Thumbnail: Page 
971
    971
  • Thumbnail: Page 
972
    972