“It's not just about MOMMAS”: African-American non-resident fathers' views of paternal involvement


  • This article is based upon data collected for a doctoral dissertation which was supported in part by a grant from the Golden Lamp Society of Rush University Medical Center and the Rush College of Nursing Resource Review Fund. The authors gratefully acknowledge the thoughtful review and critique of Dr. Janet Engstrom and the insightful participation of the African-American non-resident fathers and fatherhood practitioners who participated in the focus groups, particularly Mr. Revin Fellows. Finally, the authors acknowledge the guidance, support, and thoughtful comments of Dr. Marguerite Sandelowski on earlier drafts of this article.


Many social and economic policies have been developed to increase fathers' involvement with their children. Yet, we know little about the meaning of involvement for African-American non-resident fathers. The purpose of this study was to obtain African-American non-resident fathers' perspectives on involvement and perceptions of their involvement. Seven focus groups were conducted with 69 fathers. Fathers' views of involvement were grouped into four major areas of importance, including sharing and caring, providing guidance, providing support, and serving in culturally specific roles. Fathers described many impediments to, and expressed dissatisfaction with, their level of involvement. The findings support the need for father-focused interventions. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 30:595–610, 2007