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Published on January 17, 2008

Author: Carolina

Source: authorstream.com

Slide1:  Children and Their Teen Fathers: Examining the Associations of Prenatal and Birth Behaviors in the ECLS-B Allison K.H. Tarkow & Natasha J. Cabrera University of Maryland Most of the research on teen parenthood has focused on mothers and much less on teen fathering attitudes and behaviors (RQ1). Specifically, little is known about: How parents’ characteristics (e.g., number of children) and prenatal context (e.g., timing of pregnancy and mothers’ use of birth control) are related to fathering attitudes (RQ2); How prenatal context and fathers’ attitudes relate to fathers’ behaviors with their children (RQ3); and, How these factors relate to infants’ development (RQ4) The present study addresses these issues in a nationally representative sample of teen fathers using Belsky’s (1984) process model of parenting. Pregnancy timing and mothers’ birth control use were related to Prenatal and Birth Behaviors. Mothers’ termination of birth control was related to higher prenatal behaviors Mothers’ right or later rated timing of the pregnancy was related to higher birth behaviors Parents age at first birth, number of biological children, and fathers’ attitudes were related to fathers’ Literacy, Caregiving, Play, and Responsibility Behaviors. Mothers’ Birth Control Behaviors 48.5% stopped using birth control 22.8% never used birth control Reasons Not Use Birth Control 14% wanted to be pregnant 32% thought couldn’t get pregnant 22% didn’t like birth control side effects Resident teen fathers were highly involved prenatally, at birth, and at 9-months with their infants and rated affection as their most important fathering role. Fathers’ own characteristics were less important for fathering attitudes than mothers’ characteristics (e.g., birth control use and number of children). Prenatal context (birth control use and pregnancy timing) related to fathers’ early behaviors while parents’ characteristics (# of children, fathering attitudes and efficacy) related to all types of engagement with their infants. The association between family context and infant development is unclear. These findings emphasize the importance of family context (# children, age at first birth), prenatal context (birth control use) for fathers attitudes/behaviors. The findings have implications for programs for teen parents: begin services prenatally and include fathers; consider that teen fathers are developmentally different from adult fathers; and account for the potential effect that cultural factors might have on teen fathers’ parenting attitudes and behaviors. Prenatal context was related to infant development Mothers’ continued birth control use was related to infants’ higher cognitive development. Fathers’ rating pregnancy as too soon was related to infants’ higher motor development. 102 teen, biological resident Fathers aged 17-19 years, 18.5 (M) Parents were predominantly White and Hispanic, 26% married Mothers aged 15 to 24 years, 18.6 (M) Infants 61% boys, 9.9 months (M), 87% normal birth weight Background Participants RQ1: What are the family characteristics of a national birth cohort of infants with resident teenage fathers? RQ3: How do family context and fathers’ attitudes relate to fathers’ behaviors? RQ4: How do family context and fathers’ behaviors relate to infants’ development? RQ2: How does family context relate to fathers’ attitudes? Data Source: ECLS-B This study uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), which is a nationally representative cohort of children born in 2001 followed from birth through first grade 10,688 infants and their parents participated in the first wave when the children were approximately 9 months old. Children born to mothers less than 15 years of age were excluded from the sampling frame (Flannagan & West, 2004) Child assessments were conducted on a total of 10,224 of these children. If fathers were not interviewed at home, a self-administered questionnaire was filled out and mailed in. Mothers who reported more biological children had partners who had more positive attitudes and felt less efficacious. Mothers’ continued birth control use was related to fathers’ higher efficacy Fathering Behaviors Prenatal- 77% frequently involved prenatally (e.g., discuss pregnancy, buy things for infant, feel baby move) Birth- 84% present at birth and visit in hospital Involvement at 9 months- 4 subscales Literacy- over half sang songs several times a week; 50% told stories once or twice a week Caregiving- majority engaged at least once a day (e.g., change diaper, prepare meals, feed) Play- 50% played at least a few times a week (i.e., peekaboo, bathe) Responsibility- often or always responsible for infant (e.g. soothing when upset, take infant to doctor, stay home when infant ill) Conclusions Fathers chose affection as their most important role Each fathering role has a distinct profile

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