Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Claudia J. Heath

Abstract

The demands on fathers to be more involved with their children have steadily been increasing since the 1970s. However, fathers have received less attention in the social science literature compared to mothers. This difference is evident regarding the parenting practices of ethnic minority fathers such as nonresident Black fathers. This dissertation investigates the effects of nonresident Black fathers’ perceptions of the coparenting relationship and coparenting support on their perceived father involvement and their perceived paternal stressors; while testing the mediating effects of maternal gatekeeping. The dissertation is presented in a three manuscript-style format with the intent to publish each manuscript in peer-reviewed journals.

The aim of the first manuscript is to assess the cross-cultural adaptation and reliability of a modified Everyday Stressors Index titled, the Everyday Stressors Index-Minority Nonresident Fathers version (ESI-MNF). Using a sample of 105 nonresident Black fathers, the ESI-MNF was developed to include items that measure aspects of ethnic minority stressors and characteristics of nonresident fathering. The results indicate that the ESI-MNF is reliable. A paternal stressors subscale emerged that indicated specific areas of stress for nonresident fathers.

The goal of the second manuscript is to test the effects of nonresident Black fathers’ perceptions of the coparenting relationship and coparenting support on their perceived paternal stressors; while testing the mediating effects of maternal gatekeeping. Results show that the mediating effects of maternal gatekeeping behaviors are minimized when the relationships with their children’s mothers are good and their children’s mothers are perceived as supportive.

The purpose of the third manuscript is to test two models of nonresident Black father involvement with maternal gatekeeping as a mediator. Model 1 tests the mediating effects of maternal gatekeeping when parenting with one mother. Model 2 tests the effects of maternal gatekeeping when parenting with two mothers. For the sample of fathers with multiple sets of nonresident children, the results indicate that the dimensions of father involvement may be different when parenting with the first mother and when parenting with the second mother.

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