Becoming custodial dads: Exploring parenting among low-income and working-class African American fathers

Jennifer Hamer, Kathleen Marchioro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors use an ecological framework and grounded theoretical analysis to explore the circumstances in which working-class and low-income custodial African American fathers gain custody of their children, their transition from part-time to full-time parents, and the role of support networks in enhancing or inhibiting these men's parenting. Twenty-four men from an impoverished Midwestern urban area participated in the study. The findings suggest that these men, and perhaps others sharing their demographic profiles, generally become parents by default and are often reluctant to take on a full-time, single parenting role. Adaptation to the role seems to be enhanced by these men's use of extended kin support networks and shared living arrangements. However, low wages, a lack of sufficient assistance from public assistance programs, and informal custody arrangements often inhibit their fathering.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-129
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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