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The Noncustodial Father–Child Relationship From Adolescence Into Young Adulthood


Human Development and Family Studies, 1300 Linden Drive, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Madison, WI 53706 (


The relationship between adult children aged 18 – 24 and noncustodial fathers was explored with longitudinal data from the National Survey of Families and Households (n = 359). Noncustodial fathers’ commitment to their adolescent children (contact, involvement in childrearing decisions) was strongly associated with father-child relations in early adulthood. Father–adult child relations were weaker when children were born to an unmarried mother and when children had no memory of living with the father. Contrary to expectations, both mothers’ and fathers’ remarriage was associated with stronger father-child relationships in early adulthood. The results show continuity in the father-child relationship from adolescence into young adulthood and suggest that the life course transitions of family members influence the father-child bond.