Caveats in doing fatherhood research

Date: July 9, 2011
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Traditionally, academic research on families has focused on mothers or children; only recently have researchers become concerned with testing specific hypotheses about fathers. Similarly, most government-sponsored, policy-oriented family research has focused on mothers rather than fathers, even when men were present in the home. By contrast, newer family assistance programmes embrace a variety of specific goals relating to the encouragement of father involvement. These programmes often serve specific target populations and are typically part of integrated services designed to benefit at-risk populations. Measurement and evaluation strategies, however, have tended to focus on broad indicators of social problems (for example, rates of unemployment, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, and child support payment) rather than indicators of fathering in relation to child outcomes.

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