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Relationship Quality, Coparenting and Father Involvement in African American and Hispanic Adolescent Mothers and Fathers: A Mediational Model Open Access

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Adolescent childbearing is a major public policy concern in the United States, and father involvement is a particular focus of researchers and members of socioeconomically disadvantaged and minority populations. Previous research with married couples has found that coparenting may be a better predictor of father involvement than relationship quality (McBride & Rane, 1998). The current study examined a sample of 37 adolescent African American and Latina mothers and their babies' fathers, using multiple regression and structural equation modeling to explicate the associations between relationship quality, coparenting, and father involvement. Results supported previous literature in finding that coparenting explained a significant portion of the variance in father involvement above and beyond the effects of relationship quality for both mothers and fathers, but the results did not support a mediating effect of coparenting on the relationship between relationship quality and father involvement. Rather, within the full structural equation model, relationship quality at Time 1 was not predictive of father involvement at Time 2 for either mothers or fathers. Mothers' report of change in coparenting, on the other hand, was predictive of father involvement at Time 2. This examination of causal mechanisms suggests the importance of the coparenting relationship as a potential point of intervention for improving father involvement in adolescent African American and Latina parents.

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